WHITE LIES: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret by A.J. Baime tackles a man I knew of — a white-skinned black man whose legendary undercover investigations into Southern lynching — but didn’t know much about. Baime shows there was a great deal more to White, who refused to pass outside of his undercover work, became a major player in the early radical days of the NAACP, wrote four books, became a celebrity in the Harlem Renaissance (and had the ego to go with it) and risked much of his rep by having an affair with, then marrying a white woman, which his associates worried would be held up as proof ending segregation was all about access to white women (the big rationalization of the era). The book also provides a grimly detailed history of the last century’s racial lynchings; very good.
CROSSOVER: Kids Love Chains by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw looks at what happens when comic book superheroes erupt out of a cosmic event into reality, eventually sealing themselves off inside a dome to prevent any interference (“Or was it to protect us from them?”). A teenage girl whose family are trapped inside the dome, a metahuman kid and the son of a Bible-thumping, conniving evangelist are all caught up in the government’s schemes to capture stray superheroes and the resistance working to free them. While the concept isn’t bad, the execution is indistinguishable from any other comic where superhumans or mutants are hunted by the government, despite the appearance of several indie characters whose creators gave Cates the go-ahead (Samaritan from Astro City, Savage Dragon, Madman). I won’t be back for V2.
FOR THE WOLF by Hannah Whitten starts off well as protagonist Red prepares to honor an ancient obligation on the Second Princess of each generation, to enter the malevolent nearby forest and sacrifice herself to the monstrous Wolf. Her sister wants Red to stay but like Elsa in Frozen, Red is terrified the dark magic inside her will harm her sibling if she stays.Once in the woods, though, the book turns from a Red Riding Hood riff to Beauty and the Beast, with a tortured, not terribly monstrous Wolf whom Red’s instantly attracted to, even though he’s obnoxious and arrogant — and refuses to provide any exposition, even when it would be smart to do so. The story slowed to a crawl here and though it picks up later, it never completely won me back. Cool cover design by Lisa Marie Pompilio, though.
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