Power Lines #1 from the Shadowline imprint of Image Comics -
Thirty-One Thousand years after the Earth's geomagnetic polarity reversed, a mysterious triangle, three lines of power, is revealed to exist in the area that would one day be called California. Eight-thousand years later, the indigenous people learned to harness the lines to defend their lands, but by 1830, the Native Americans have been defeated and relocated, and all knowledge of the power lines is lost.
In 2016, California has its own power lines - racial and economic power lines. A street tough from the wrong side of the tracks called Tight is taking his crew into Benicia, CA, to cause a little mayhem and make some very fast, very illegal cash. When the police catch him in the act, Tight legs it. Finally cornered, he stumbles upon a force that gives him powers he can only dream of. What will Tight do with his newfound power? Become some type of villain, or a new type of hero? He better decide soon. Another has gained access to the power...And they both are being watched by ominous, shadowy figures whose intentions may be less than benevolent.
In an age that adores flawed heroes, or outright anti-heroes, Jimmie Robinson serves up a story for our times in Power Lines. At first glance, it's easy to think that this book may contain just another run o' the mill superhero origin story, but it is much more than that. It seems to be a social commentary, wrapped in a character study, wrapped in a superhero shell. Power lines are more than just ancient sources of mystical power in this book, they mirror the racial and economic lines of power that divide up our neighborhoods, cities, our country and our world. What is interesting is that the power is just that, power - it has no preference to who possesses it, no interest in their character, or intelligence. It is just there for the taking, for whomever accesses it first. It reminds me a bit of the ideas on the spread of civilization put forth in Jared Diamond's powerful work, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Fascinating.
Robinson is Mr. Do-It-All, creating, writing, drawing, inking, coloring and lettering this comic all by his lonesome. The art is clean, simple, yet expressive and serves as a great vehicle to tell the story. There are so many layers to this comic, so much to explore...This book has serious potential to be poignant, relevant, and to be a starting point for some brutally honest discussions. Be advised, there is harsh language, and there are mature, sensitive themes in this book. If you are into the heavy, thought-provoking stuff (which I think this book will become in future issues), this book is for you. If you just want a fun, action-packed superhero comic, best to steer far clear of this one. As for me, I need to see what happens in the next issue.
RATING: 9.5 out of 10. This character-driven superhero drama has lots of potential.