Welcome back! This week I continue featuring graphic novels in honor of Black History Month and review the collected edition of Truth: Red, White, & Black written by Robert Morales with art by Kyle Baker and published by Marvel Comics.
Great Depression of the 1930's, there was still a lot of uneasiness to be felt as most of Europe and Asia was at war with Germany and Japan and American's held their collective breathes as they waited for when we would be dragged into the conflict. This eventually did happen in 1941 and the USA was looking for an advantage from the very start. From this fertile point in history, we get the story told in Truth: Red, White & Black. While the country was sending soldiers off to Europe and the Pacific, we were still dealing with the beginnings of real racial tentions here at home. I am sure by now we all know the basic story of who Steve Rogers is and how he came into being, but Truth takes that story and examines within the racial context of the 1940's. Would the US government really do experiments on white men, when they had "inferior" black men that they could use first? We get a look at these men that survived the experiments and how they helped turn the tide of World War II and how they were subsequently treated by the government that they were sworn to serve.
Kyle Baker (whose work on Plastic Man really didn't seem to jell in my mind as the best fit for this work), but he does a great job of giving emotional resonance to the characters and a kinetic force to the fights in the book. If I have a complaint about the work as a whole, it is that there could have been an issue or two more produced to tie up some loose ends a little more entertainingly as they are eventually handled. That said, it is well worth your time to read and maybe it will help you to understand a small part as to how, though as put upon as blacks were at the time, they still loved their country and loved it as much as any man...regardless of color.