An Alien crash lands on earth in the 1839 in the time of slavery. The Alien’s ship transforms him into the likeness of the first being it sees, a black slave woman. She retrieves the child.
In the present a black lawyer wonders what more he can actually do to help people than he already has. Elsewhere in Dakota a young woman by the name of Raquel is an aspiring writer living in a ghetto. She cant even afford a type writer to hone her craft. When a group of friends convince her to follow them on a joyride which quickly escalates into robbery, she immediately opposes but with the possibility of affording a typewriter too much to resist she follows. Once in the suburbs they enter a lavish mansion and Raquel is in awe. When she reaches the library she is more concerned with the knowledge these books no doubt contain as opposed to stealing anything. They are caught by the owner who her friend shoots but the man rises up unharmed and reprimands the lot of them for what they had done. He wants them to keep his powers a secret and he won’t turn them in. They all agree and part.
Raquel can’t stop thinking about how he changed her life and how he could change so much more if only he would use his abilities out in the open. She confronts him and even though he seems reluctant at first her plea reaches his heart. She leaves with him designs she made of costumes and identities for both. He makes her a suit and gives her a belt which will “protect her”. In three weeks they meet in the ghetto where Icon realizes he may have been able to do more just as she had said. They meet gear up and try to assist the police. The police turn their weapons towards them.
Raquel…….here is a character who everyone who’s ever had a dream or been broke at one point or another can relate to. She has a good heart, great talent BUT the world just has never handed her a break. She’s poor, probably can’t find a job has no work experience etc and of course we have Icon Lofty as all HELL!!! He honesty to god thinks that those who are poor have done something to deserve their station in life or simply have not worked hard enough. I’m not sure I like this guy! Sure he has all the powers of superman but you know what his been in that skyscraper so long he can’t see the little people walking on the street or in the alley. It’s one of those mistakes a lot of wealthy and successful people make they look down their nose at those they deem “inferior” and this too is something everyone can relate to at one point or another.
Raquel is the star of the book as she’s a more human character sure Icon has glimpses of humanity but for all purposes he’s a demi-god in a world of humans he has a routine he does but he’s never related to humans on a personal level before. Raquel will have allot of work ahead of her because this dude right now needs to be slapped around.
The art while not something I would have wanted, strangely lead the story along rather well, the book had a very dark, murky, if not dirty feel I’m not sure was intentional but it worked great. One panel in particular as you read the issue and watch things unfold gave me chills was where Icon starts flying while Raquel thinks of what it truly means to “fly”
The story was great from start to finish unlike most comics where you just read it and come away feeling nothing this one spoke to me on a very personal level. Raquel an aspiring writer like myself I GOT her. It’s always rare for me when a comic pulls at my emotions and while I’m not sure if this was Dwayne McDuffie’s intention I became personally invested in this story the more I thought about it. It was a superhero story for the common man…..right now I’m thinking of how can I get this book in my neighborhood? How come I never saw a copy of this comic when I was a kid? This is powerful stuff on paper! McDuffie has earned a right to be a on my radar. You sir have my respect. A very solid script!
I’m not entirely convinced yet that a man like Icon would have just blended into society in the way he has. Perhaps the “black super man” analogy I’ve always had in my mind has colored my perceptions but….it’s seems a tad bit weird.
The art really is not my fav.
Its hard to give this issue anything other than a 4.5/5 because it’s a different read than anything that came out in 1993 and it still holds up wonderfully today, it’s relatable and riveting if you allow it to pull you in. Highly Recommended