Friday, January 5, 2018

The American Way: Those Above and Those Below #4 Review and ***SPOILERS***

A Little Less Talk, A Lot More Action Please

Written by: John Ridley
Art By: Georges Jeanty, John Livesay, and Nick Filardi
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 15, 2017


From the first issue on, this series has tackled subject matter that is meant to make some people uncomfortable. It's very tough, real topics that need to be addressed in this country. That being said, this isn't exactly my type of series. It hasn't been bad, but it hasn't been tremendous either. It's simply been middle-of-the-road, and not very exciting. As the mini-series heads into the latter half, I'm hoping it picks up and grabs me for these last three issues.

Explain It!

This issue picks up in the wake of the assassination attempt on Missy Deveraux from the last issue. A news reporter is heard talking through the TV, saying that Missy's husband, and current Mississippi governor, Hollis is taking extreme measures to deal with the problem. As that is happening, Jason is trying to find Amber. He ends up finding her in California, and they talk... and talk... and talk. Really this entire issue, and most of the series so far, has been a whole lot of talking.

The conversation doesn't really go anywhere, as Jason and Amber have pretty different ideas of how to address everything happening around the nation. Their talk ends with Jason flying off without bringing her in like he was sent to do. When he lands in Washington, D.C. he is greeted by Ersine Wells, and now they get to have a chat. Ersine tells Jason that if he wanted Amber dead, she would already be dead because he doesn't miss. Then Jason jets off to Mississippi for, you guessed it, more talking.

Jason goes to talk to Missy, but Hollis tells him that she is out campaigning. Hollis wants Jason to go after Samuel Keener, the man that tried to kill Missy during her speech. The FBI is going to go with Jason, but Hollis thinks Jason will have better luck talking to the kid because they are both black.

Now we're going to hop back over to Amber, who gives Nikki a file with all of her plans. She tells Nikki that she's like a sister to her, and that she wants Nikki to continue the fight in case something happens to her. Amber wants to coordinate a series of bombings, then have one last big action all on her own, and she doesn't think she'll come out of that alive. Meanwhile, Jason goes to Samuel's apartment and gets some information on where he might be from his neighbor.

Missy is pulled aside after a speech by Tannis Darling, a reporter from the original series that discovered all of the secrets about the former superheroes, but didn't reveal them to the world. After they have a talk about the past, Tannis tells Missy to come clean about leaving Southern Cross to die back in the day in favor of saving Jason, or else she is going to do it for her. After leaving Missy to think about that, we go back to Nikki Lau, who is talking about Amber. She says what she is supposed to do in all of this, and that she wants to step out of her father's shadow and be a real hero. Then we get the big reveal of the issue: Nikki has been working for Ersine Wells the whole time, and has been giving him information on Amber by getting close to her. The issue ends with Jason finding Samuel, who has flamed-on and looks like he is ready for a fight.

Like I said at the beginning, this just isn't my book. I find it hard to get through a whole issue at once because it's just so much standing around and talking. The dialogue is heavy handed, the characters aren't interesting me anymore, and the story isn't going anywhere. The reveal in this issue was pretty shocking and the art is still good, but I am not really a fan overall. Up until now I've said that this has been a decent book even if it's not for me, but this issue wasn't very good.

Bits and Pieces:

After three fairly solid issues, I think this one was a bit of a dud. The story hasn't moved forward very much and the characters haven't had any development in these four issues. The art is still good and I think there could be a good story in there, it's just buried under mounds of forced dialogue. I hope John Ridley turns it around and give a solid end to the series, but I can't say that it's looking that way right now.


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