AT THE DARK END OF THE STREET: Black Women, Rape and Resistance — a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle L. McGuire argues that a driving force for black women in the civil rights movement (sometimes working within it, sometimes alongside it) was to push back against the long history or white-on-black rape and harassment, with most victims staying silent and the few who stood up getting justice. McGuire makes a good (and unsurprising) case that women’s roles in the movement have been neglected in favor of heroic men, and that the movement itself was often divided about the more prominent cases, fearing the consequences if the victim wasn’t spotless in her respectability. Thus the book closes with the 1970s Joan Little case (a petty crook who killed a guard trying to rape her) to show that despite being not at all respectable, Little was able to win her self-defense case and generate extensive public support.
This is good, but coming out in 2010, the ending is depressingly optimistic: the author and one black rape victim watch Michelle Obama at her husband’s inauguration, feeling the worst is finally behind them. I also wish McGuire had put white-on-black rape in the context of general rape culture; it’s not as if the tactics used to discredit black victims aren’t standard defenses in white-on-white cases.
After two good TPBs of JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS I was disappointed in the follow-up, Dark Jem by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell. Here it turns out the supercomputer Synergy has developed a dark side, Silica, that plans to use the Holograms to spread its mind-controlling music and turn everyone into Goths (judging by the visuals). Not well executed (Silica’s defeat at the end is anticlimactic) and not the sort of story I buy this series for.
CATWOMAN: Copycats by Joelle Jones is well drawn (I’ll have to try her indie book Lady Killer sometime) but unsatisfying in the story. After her wedding to Bruce falls apart (I’ve no idea of the details), Selina relocates to a corrupt, Gotham-light city where her comatose sister is being cared for. The local power family warns her against interfering in their affairs; she tells them not to interfere with hers, and suddenly it’s a fairly pointless war between them. And one that ends listlessly, with formidable adversaries suddenly going over like dominoes. I like Catwoman enough I’ll try V2 at some point though.
THE BANKS by Roxane Gay and Ming Doyle has an investment counselor recruit her mother and grandmom — both professional thieves — to help take down a rich client who’s also involved with the crimelord who murdered the protagonist’s father. This is a good heist/family drama but the abrupt shift of direction at the end didn’t work for me.
#SFWApro. Cover by Jones, all rights remain with current holder.