Harlem that special city in New York has always been the center of the world.
During the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ’30s art, the social scene, music and a literary movement burst open. The place was popping with ideas and its residents unapologetically embraced their blackness. When you see photos from that time period they are of African-American men and women celebrating their lives. What’s more Harlem has always had a team out there to protect it. At times from outside forces, but more likely than not the threat was usually within.
Today, thanks to the television series ‘Luke Cage’ the world knows Misty Knight. She first appeared in Marvel comics in the mid 1970s and was in the mold of Coffy and Foxy Brown. Both characters where take charge women who didn’t ask permission. Instead, they saw a problem and decided to be the solution. Born out of the Blaxploitation era of the same time period Misty has the strength, experience and intelligence to be the narrative voice of the inaugural issue of ‘Black Panther and The Crew’. And more importantly the voice of Harlem. Now there’s a problem. Ezra Keith has been found dead in a jail cell. Harlem’s about to explode and Misty sees a familiar face supporting Ezra’s family.
What makes this comic book relevant are the protests about police brutality and a family seeking answers interwoven with Misty’s curiosity. Throughout the comic she’s guiding the reader through her Harlem. It’s not a romanticized version of the past or someone’s present fantasy. Instead it’s about black people who want answers, who are tired of having their humanity diminished. Equally as important it’s about finding out why Ezra’s death has come on Ororo Munroe’s radar. Storm of the X-Men and the former queen of Wakanda is in Harlem. You can’t miss her statuesque model features. Her regal air leaps off the page. The plea to have Misty help and find out what’s going on is going to lead to some awesome action sequences.
Still this comic is called ‘Black Panther and The Crew,’ so expect to see Luke Cage not to mention the Panther himself make an appearance. Harlem needs the band to get back together. Perhaps Misty will find the answers she needs to stop Harlem from exploding. There’s definitely a mystery here. Why is Ezra so important? And just how many crews have there been over the years trying to keep Harlem together?
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