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All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. A quick note – since this month is so relatively short, I’ll be featuring an extra comic every week, for a total of 32 comics spotlighted! Here is a list of all the comics spotlighted so far!
Today we take a look at Route 3, from Terminus Media, written by Robert Jeffrey II, penciled and inked by Sean Damien Hill and colored by Ann Siri (#1) and Omi Remalante (#2)
Probably the thing that stands out the most about Route 3 is just how complex of a story Robert Jeffrey II is telling here. It is not just a superhero coming of age story, about a young man who discovers that he has superpowers (basic telekinesis-level abilities, it appears)…
No, this is also a conspiracy story about a mysterious government group that is trying to control young Sean Anderson…
And, of course, an opposing group (with a mysterious stranger watching out for Sean, even when he gets accosted by some street thugs) who want to stop the previous group…
That alone would be complex, but also pretty much what you would expect. Where Jeffrey takes things to a whole other level is when he introduces a local gang who is hired by the government conspiracy group to assassinate Sean, knowing that their attack will trigger his powers. Rather than just being a plot device, Jeffrey makes these gang members a part of the overall story, showing how the situation affects THEM, not just our hero. Jeffrey goes the extra mile quite often in the book, like in #1, when we meet a group of soldiers sent after Sean (the opening is set six months after the main story). Jeffrey gives the soldiers, who are not major characters in the work, distinct personalities. It is almost like Jeffrey can’t help but make all of the characters in the book multi-faceted!
Sean’s personal life is in rough shape. His mother recently died and his father is doing his best to help Sean get through things but Sean has taken his mother’s death as an excuse to seemingly shut himself off from the rest of the world. He ignores his father’s attempts to deal with his pain and he similarly tosses off his best friend’s similar entreaties at school. However, when a fellow classmate at school begins to show a romantic interest in him, he begins to turn things around (right before things get crazy for him, of course).
Artist Sean Damien Hill really drew the hell out of their date. A lot of attention went into this page of them at the movies…
Hill, by the way, does a standout performance on this series. He has the dynamic action down pat but he handles all of the character work well, also (and Jeffrey puts in a lot of character stuff, so that’s important).
So through two issues, we are only JUST seeing Sean exhibit his powers but we’ve already gotten quite a yarn, just because of Jeffrey’s expansive, interesting cast of characters. Jeffrey has done a great job of using these issues as set-up while still moving the story along so that it feels like you’re getting a complete issue. It’s a rare feat these days to actually pull that off (as so many first issues feel like strictly set-up), but Jeffrey does so here.
If you’re interested in more Route 3, check out their page at Terminus Media’s website, where you can purchase a copy of #1 (#2 will be available soon).
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