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Truth: Red, White and Black #1: Review

Jan 2003
Robert Morales, Kyle Baker

Story Name:

Truth, Part One: The Future

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Truth: Red, White and Black #1 Review by (October 18, 2010)
Review: Grim, hard-hitting “story behind the story” of Captain America excited a lot of controversy when it was published. The original complaints stemmed from the implication that it would interfere with the established continuity of the familiar tale; these complaints slacked off when Cap (the Steve one) showed up to demonstrate it was a supplement to the well-known version not a revision. Not surprisingly there was debate over the casting of a black man as Captain America, as though this were some PC rewrite of the classic tale. The point of the tale is to show us the “two Americas” that once existed, the black and the white. Racism was a fact; the Super-Soldier Project in the book is based on the real-life Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, where African American men with the disease were left untreated so they could be used in a longitudinal story—like lab rats. The Red Summer incident (described in issue #3) was also a matter of record. It’s true: black Americans were treated poorly by their own government. With that goal in mind, the project makes sense but the result is flawed. This book overdoes it at times, occasionally depicting America as not much better than Nazi Germany. The characters are often types, with the villains (Merritt and Captain Price) coming across as absurd caricatures. The biggest flaw in the series is Kyle Baker’s art, which is too cartoonish for the seriousness of the subject. But the story has an impact that overcomes its flaws and Steve Rogers Cap is never made a part of the racist cover up. Isaiah Bradley? He ends up a larger-than-life hero, one made a great sacrifice to serve his country—being sacrificed in the name of his country.

Comments: Cover says “Part I of VI;” this was later expanded to VII. Issue includes a three-page preview of UNCANNY X-MEN #416.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Truth: Red, White and Black #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

July 1940: in New York, a young married couple, Isaiah and Faith Bradley visit the World’s Fair during the special Negro Week. They have a good time, until they are denied entrance to a show featuring white dancing girls because of their race….

In Philadelphia, Maurice Canfield drops by the home of his wealthy successful black family, his face battered from a fight. He explains to his mother, in gently ironic terms, how his injuries resulted from an attempt to organize Irish stevedores into a union. His mother scolds him for his reckless ways but he insists he must earn his station in life and the means he has chosen is to stand up for the oppressed rather than settling into their place….

In Cleveland, Army Sergeant Lucas Elias explains to a friend how he was busted from Captain: a black MP was killed in a racial brawl and his white commander blamed the black man—and Elias shoved him for calling the incident a trifle….

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Elias abandons his thoughts of suicide to serve his country; Maurice, convicted of sedition for his anti-government protests is offered the choice between jail and the army; Isaiah enlists proudly and assures Faith he will come back to her….


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> Truth: Red, White and Black: Book info and issue index

Truth: Red, White and Black #1 cover


Kyle Baker
Kyle Baker
Kyle Baker
Kyle Baker (Cover Penciler)
Kyle Baker (Cover Inker)
Kyle Baker (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.


Captain America (Isaiah Bradley).