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Shaft #1

    Todd Jordan
    Smut is good.

  • Shaft #1

    Published by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: Dec. 3, 2014
    Writer: David F. Walker
    Artist: Bilquis Evely
    Cover Artist: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz
    Purchase at Amazon

    Dynamite Entertainment presents a prequel to the events that take place in the famous Blaxploitation movie of the same name, putting the hero John Shaft in the boxing arena in late 1968. Shaft's tour in 'Nam interrupted his blossoming fighting career but now that he's back from Vietnam he's back in the game. Ready to make his mark in a big fight, Shaft is taken aback when threatened by violence if he doesn't lose the fight. Not to be bullied, threatened, or otherwise fucked with, Shaft does exactly what you would hope he would do and does what he pleases.

    The gangster trying to pull Shaft's strings is a man named Junius Tate and he runs Harlem. And the mobster named Mr. Sal is the one pulling on Tate's strings. Neither man is happy about the decision Shaft makes concerning the boxing match and once they catch up to him things will not be pretty. Tate employs a former contender named Bamma Brooks as his muscle, and who is of course in charge of teaching the punk-ass Shaft a lesson. He also gives Shaft some advice he'd best well heed.

    The creative team delivers an excellent first issue and sets up what looks to be a good crime drama and told with a serious tone. Missing in the dialogue is 70s-style lingo you might find in Blaxploitation flicks like “you jive turkeys” or “yo mamma” and instead a realistic approach is taken, which helps with keeping the mood of the book from getting silly. Also missing are attempts at humor or tongue-in-cheek stuff, which keeps the book grounded in reality. Detailed and impressive artwork fills the pages and as with the script stays on a level of believability.

    The comic was a pleasant surprise, as it could have easily gone in a direction to poke fun at the genre or swipe some mojo from Black Dynamite's style, but it doesn't. Instead it plays it totally straight and for that we can thank the writer, David Walker. For those unfamiliar with Walker, he runs a pop culture website called “BadAzz Mofo” (which started as a magazine long ago) on top of writing comics. It seems evident at only one issue that Walker has a handle on this character and is going to make Shaft's early years very entertaining.

    • Ian Jane
      Ian Jane
      Ian Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice, Toidd. I agree, this series is off to a great start. More in keeping with the books than the movies, but I can dig it.

    • Todd Jordan
      Todd Jordan
      Smut is good.
      Todd Jordan commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks alive for putting those pages.
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