The American Way:  Those Above And Those Below #1 Review

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American Way Those Above and Those Below #1

What is this all about?

The American Way:  Those Above And Those Below puts us back into one of The Truth’s sweet spots:  Alternate History.   Brought to us from the mind of John Ridley, Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave.  It should come as no surprise that the book delves deep into social and racial issues, especially to those which read the original The American Way Comics published ten years ago.  That series was set during the cold war and the start of the civil rights movement, Those Above And Those Below is set during the  70’s, another explosive time during our nation’s history. Spoilers ahead!

The Review

This world is one in which a team of costumed superheroes, once the pride of the nation, has been disgraced as a government propaganda tool after events such as the Kennedy assassination.  Sooooo, like The Incredibles, but a bit darker.American Way Those Above and Those Below #1

The New American, Jason Fisher, is one of the few costumed heroes still trying to make a difference.   He is going after a black radical.  Even though he agrees with him on most of his agenda, he can’t abide the violence they are committing.  The neighborhood is set against him.  Does he serve the law, or does he serve the people?  Will he go after his own, when the white police are just as eager to point a gun at him as the criminals he chases?  He is invulnerable, but he feels pain.

Ol’ Miss, Missy Deveraux is the first lady of Mississippi, and she is being pressured to run for the office when her husband has to step down due to term limits.  Apparently, she was a hero to the South, on the Southern Defense Corps, protecting the Southern Way of Life, as it were.  A political adviser lays it on pretty thick about how liberals are ruining the country, and it’s getting so that they even want to outlaw flying the stars and bars.  Missy is reluctant to run, and she does not want to dredge of the memories of the past.  We don’t know what her powers are.

Amber Eaton is another super, who is using her powers to attack the man.  She is a leftist warrior, infiltrating government institutions and blowing them up.  She is the leader of a leftist group which is actively recruiting new members.  She also appears to be running from her past and has a chip on her shoulders.  She can produce energy, force shields, and has the power of flight.  Those powers aren’t enough to prevent her from becoming an addict.American Way Those Above and Those Below #1

John Ridley’s writing is fantastic, and he is not afraid to go there.   The New American, in particular, is an interesting character.  He seems to have pure intentions.  He wants to do the right thing, but he can’t understand how the neighborhood can think him a sellout for trying to take down a murderer.  But that murderer is taking drug dealers off the streets and is going on the offensive against the police.  People really were in arms at this time, government buildings were being blown up regularly.

We’re left with The New American doing the right thing (what consequences will that bring), Ol’ Miss stating that she does not intend to run, and Amber Eaton with a new recruit, willing to die for the cause.American Way Those Above and Those Below #1

The coloring in the book is interesting, and kind of “color coded” to the characters, which proved useful, as often one person’s dialog would start on another persons page.  I did find the art detracting a little from the total package for me, but is serviceable.  I really don’t feel qualified to critique it.  But you know the saying, I don’t know art, but I know what I like.

Final Words

I’ll be in it for the haul on this one (I think it’s a limited series anyways), and I’ll likely be trying to dig up a copy of the original series to get the background story.

So…did you do what I told you to do?  Subscribe, review, all that jazz?  No?

You disgust me!


More Info

Reviewed by The Truth
The American Way:  Those Above And Those Below #1
Written by John Ridley
Art by: Georges Jeanty, Danny Miki, Nick Filardi, Travis Lanham

Published by DC/Vertigo
Release Date: 07/12/17

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