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The Black Racer and Shilo Norman #1

by Olivier Roth on August 31, 2017

Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Pencils: Denys Cowan, Ryan Benjamin
Published by: DC Comics

 

In this, the penultimate special dedicated to Jack Kirby’s centennial, we are treated to a story about one of the members of the New Gods family that I have only ever had a passing knowledge of. I have heard of the Black Racer before, but I never knew of his origins and  how he came to be part of the New Gods epic.

 

The story begins with the re-introduction of the third person to have the Mister Miracle moniker: Shilo Norman. In typical Mister Miracle fashion, he is strapped to a rocket, about to do one of his most daring of stunts ever: escaping said missile before three others shoot him down. Enter the Black Racer.

 

Being that Shilo is the third Mister Miracle and not of New Genesis or Apokolips, he does not instantly recognize the Black Racer and asks Oberon for help in identifying this man on skis. This gives Hudlin an opportunity to give the reader a detailed history of who the Black Racer is, a Vietnam War vet who was chosen by the New Gods to be their harbinger of death, and to place him within the context of this story.

 

Shilo, not being a New God, is confused as to why the Black Racer is here at the moment of his impending demise, and leads him on a merry chase around the world and time. I’ll take a second to mention here that the chase sequence was a lot of fun and gave an opportunity to include a few other Kirby creations some time on the page, namely the world of Kamandi and a guest appearance by OMAC and Brother Eye.

 

The story, like previous specials, is fun and self-contained, and does exactly what it is meant to do: give us an introduction to these two Kirby creations. On art, Cowan and Benjamin work quite well together giving off a great sense of movement and action to the entire issue. Unlike some of the other specials, they stayed within their own art-style and chose not to ape Kirby.

 

As with the other specials, we are treated to a few of Kirby’s Grabbers, this time around dealing with the denizens of Supertown, namely Fastbak, the Black Racer and Vikyn the Black. These again showcase just how good Kirby was and there really isn’t much else to add to that.

Our Score:

8/10

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