“Are You Not Black and Alive? Should You Not Matter?” (Far Sector #5 Comic Review)

Far Sector #5 Comic Review

Writer: N.K. Jemisin

Artist/Colorist: Jamal Campbell

Letterer: Deron Bennett

Cover: Jamal Campbell

Variant Cover: Warren Louw

“Are You Not Black and Alive? Should You Not Matter?”

What You Need to Know

The curtain is finally peeled on the Sojourner Mullein’s backstory. How did this Earth-born woman end up across the universe in the City Enduring? How does her experience patrolling the City Enduring connect to her experiences as a Black woman on Earth?

What Just Happened

The issue picks up a week since the protest that occupied the plot the past 2 issues. The Council has issued an apology for the CEPD firing on protestors. 12 people died, and 33 were injured. The Council accepted the protestors’ demands regarding the emotion exploit.

Lantern Mullein and CanHaz try to do research into the council and how they may be benefiting off the emotion exploit. Lantern Mullien learns from CanHaz that @Ats are used to datamine cryptocurrency that is used to traffic switchoff. CanHaz informs Mullein that she was in the datamines for 50 years.

Mullein flashes back to her childhood and remembers when her mother was passed over for a promotion due to discrimination and her parents struggling to pay rent. She remembers her parents in divorce court the same day as 9/11. Mullien and her father save people from the destruction. She remembers being racially profiled during her graduation dinner. Mullien remembers passing over going to Princeton to join the army. Feeling like she isn’t helping in the Middle East while with the army, she eventually gets to attend Princeton. After graduating, Mullein becomes a police officer. Mullein is witness to police brutality committed by her partner. Mullein eventually gets fired and is at a nightclub at the bar and is approached by a woman who appears to be a Green Lantern about a job opportunity. Mullein explains that she reported her partner but regrets that she froze and did not stop him during the attack. Mullein explains she was actually fired because a friend who is a member of Black Lives Matter tagged her in a social media post. Mullein states she will testify against her partner. The lighting makes it seems like the woman Mullein is talking to is a Guardian of OA because of a blue hue over her.

In the present, Mullein attends a ceremony for the murdered Nah, and is thanked by the man’s wife. The wife believes that the council will ignore their decision to agree to the protestors’ demands. Mullein is warned that the council may be looking for a martyr. Mullein is then contacted by Councilor Averrup Thorn who states that the murder suspect who was also murdered, named Meile Thorn, may have not been acting under her own power. Thorn states that Meile was a vegetarian. Thorn states that maintaining the nutrients to avoid eating meat is expensive for his species and Meile had become in debt paying for them. Before the murder Meile had paid her debt and disappeared. Thorn speculates that Meile was using switchoff and lost control of her cravings for meat and attacked.

My Thoughts

We finally get to see Sojourner Mullein’s backstory in this issue. Mullein’s origin reveals that she has lived a full and adventurous life even before she journeyed to a distant planet as a Green Lantern. Mullein’s experiences seeing her parents struggle, joining the army, going to an ivy league school, becoming a police officer have shaped her life as well as being discriminated against and being a witness to police brutality. Mullein believed she would escape that life in becoming a Green Lantern for a distant planet, but she is learning that the City Enduring is more of the same. N. K. Jemisin seems to want to ensure that the reader understands that social justice is a concept that extends beyond earthly limits. If a Guardian of the Universe can understand that Black Lives Matter, then surely the average US citizen can.

While I feel the social commentary in this issue is a bit on the nose, I do realize that it is very hard in general to create an authentic story that revolves around Blackness. With that being said, Jemisin is one of the best at doing what I just described and Far Sector continues her reputation of creating engaging Afro-Futuristic stories. Jemisin is also continuing to build a compelling mystery and Mullien learns that what she thought she knew about the 3 species of the City Enduring was just on the surface. Jemisin learns a new detail about the Keh-Topli that may break her investigation wide open.

Jamal Campbell has outdone himself this issue. The frame that shows the woman speaking to Mullien in a blue hue (maybe revealing herself as a Guardian) was one of the most beautiful frames of artwork I’ve seen in a long time. That frame alone earns this issue a perfect score as far as artwork, and that is without me discussing the usual awesomeness Campbell has displayed in this book.

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Marcus Freeman

Marcus Freeman

Bay Area bred, LA livin Blerd. Avid fan of comics, video games, music, wrestling, the Lakers, and the 49ers. Constantly catching up on DVR’d TV shows. Spends a little too much money at movie theaters. Also passionate about serving my community and providing the youth with tools for success.
Summary
In this issue we see how Sojourner Mullein’s experiences growing up on Earth led to her journey as a Green Lantern on a planet light years away from home. Despite her frustration with her life on Earth, Mullein has realized she can rely on her experiences as a Black woman on Earth to her advantage as she investigates 2 murders that may have as much to do with class and race as it does with drug abuse and emotional regulation. The issue is that will Mullein’s investigation lead to her downfall?
Good
  • Beautiful art
  • Finally get Sojourner Mullein's backstory
Bad
  • Social commentary is a bit on the nose
9.5
Amazing
Story - 9
Art - 10
Character Development - 9.5
Written by
Bay Area bred, LA livin Blerd. Avid fan of comics, video games, music, wrestling, the Lakers, and the 49ers. Constantly catching up on DVR’d TV shows. Spends a little too much money at movie theaters. Also passionate about serving my community and providing the youth with tools for success.

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