Mar 30th, 2016
A local street hood surviving in a crime-infested ghetto has his life turned upside-down when an ancient magic grants him superhuman powers—except his ability only activates in an upscale white community that may not accept him. Gritty, racially charged street-wise drama!
You ever think sometimes maybe someone is trying too hard? Like you know they want to be extra “real” or extra “gritty” so they tend to turn everything up to 11. That’s how Powerlines plays out, with its “street thug” characters meet “racist” up-scale white folk characters. Right off the bat we are introduced to D-Trick and his crew who are on a mission to make a statement by tagging up a “nice” white suburb. While D-Trick is attempting to tag up someone’s house, police arrive and suddenly D-Trick finds he has some sort of weird powers. At the same time one of his crew has stolen a purse containing an iPhone belonging to a very over-the-top supremely prejudiced white lady. From there, worlds start to collide as these two characters are shown to have something very much in common; the ability to tap into whatever ancient Native American force exists within their not so distant neighborhoods. It leaves an interesting concept, troubled black kid who has powers in a fancy white neighborhood, and bigot white lady who has powers in the “hood” area. Yet, all of that tends to be given a back seat to stilted, forced dialogue that feels like it was written under the idea of “this is what these types of people sound like right?” It’s just not natural, which is unfortunate because the awkward dialogue is what pulled me out of a pretty engaging story. Hopefully future issues will feel a bit more relaxed in tone. One thing definitely going for it, Jimmie Robinson definitely can draw the hell out of a book! He did with Bomb Queen and he’s doing it again here. Story wise he can be very hit or miss, but the dude can make a book look good! The issue is mostly a setup, with a potentially sinister character revealed at the end.
The Hey!: Fantastic art and some really beautiful panel layouts keep the story moving well.
The Eh: There’s an interesting story here, buried under the over used racial slurs and over the top dialogue. Do some people speak this way? Sure. Does that make these characters feel any more interesting? Nope.
The What?: While the art is superb, there aren’t any BIG moments in the story. What does get a big “WHAAAT?” is a hopefully well researched or well plotted out Native American, old world story concept.
Who should read this series?: If you’re a fan of Robinson, then you’re probably going to like this. Otherwise if you enjoy some more street level stories or books trying to maybe make a statement then this could be up your alley.
Why should you buy this book?: It’s a written well enough to introduce the players of the story, and gives everyone an equal enough amount of page time to see what they are about (at least superficially) so you can get ready for the rest of the series.