THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1 By Reginald Hudlin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Denys Cowan
Plot
Art
Characterization
Summary
A story with iconic Jack Kirby creations makes this book a perfect issue for new readers. Action packed with Kirby's diverse cast of characters that some may not know about. Exhilarating from start to finish, a perfect story for Fourth World fans.
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Enriching homage to the King of Comics
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As the 100 years of Kiry continue, DC is putting out weekly comics to highlight some of Jack Kirby’s greatest creations from their universe. So this week the Fourth World sent down THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1, written by Reginald Hudlin with artwork by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Kirby was known for promoting diversity in comics and an excellent team of creators has returned to those roots. So, we ask, will Mister Miracle escape death from the Black Racer?

THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1
THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

READ: Speaking of Mister Miracle, take a look at our review of Tom King’s new MISTER MIRACLE book here!

Fourth World Diversity in THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1

Boom Tubes, alternate dimensions, time-travel, a race against death, and an origin story. An immensely challenging thing to pull off well in only one issue. Well, Reginald Hudlin did just that. THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1 tops the Kirby books that are being put out right now by a long shot. It’s a fast paced story as we follow Mister Miracle on a death-defying stunt that’s leading him straight towards just that. Death. The Black Racer appears and Shilo Norman must outthink, out-race, and find out why the Racer has finally come for his life.

This issue takes us throughout the future where we see references to Kamandi, OMAC, and just how skilled Shilo has become as Mister Miracle. We even get a glimpse of Kirby’s creation of the Source, where the Black Racer was gifted his power. The book even leaves room for something to build upon later, if they wish to.

So for those who don’t recognize the name Shilo Norman, he first appeared in Kirby’s MISTER MIRACLE in issue #15. A protégé of Scott Free, he trained with him and later took the mantle after Scott’s death. The issue tells us the origin of the Black Racer, sticking to Kirby’s outline of a Vietnam veteran chosen by the New Gods to helm the role of Death. With Shilo’s Mother Box telling us his history as we travel across time, it keeps our attention across the first half of the books, so as the issue wraps up it leaves us craving for more of these characters.

THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1
THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

All Hail The King

The King of Comics was the creator of the Black Panther, the first black comic book superhero, back in 1966. Reginald Hudlin ‘s run on BLACK PANTHER was where he made his name in the comic book industry. So Hudlin writing with a cast of some of Kirby’s most famous diverse characters fits the book so well. This team of creators with this cast of characters makes this book special. The pencils by Denys Cowan and inks Bill Sienkiewicz complement each other especially well. Their styles blend, the dark inks bring the page to life. So their scattered line work gives depth and detail to the characters as they bounce through different timelines. Getting to see so many Fourth World and Kirby creations within one issue is mind-blowing.

THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1
THE BLACK RACER AND SHILO NORMAN SPECIAL #1 page 19. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

READ: Want more Bill Sienkiewicz? Here’s our interview with him at SDCC 2017!

The Black Racer Doesn’t Mean It’s Over

Overall, this issue defines perfection amongst these Kirby homages. The book is filled with an amazing cast of diverse characters, action, and history of the Fourth World. It would be great to see this team of creators take on a whole book regarding the Fourth World. Tom King is currently writing a new MISTER MIRACLE title, which is the closest we’ve gotten in a long time. It’s a great book to learn about some astonishing Kirby creations, which is proof that, even in today’s world, he was still ahead of his time.

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