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Title: Birth of a Nation
Author: Aaron McGruder, Reginald Hudlin, and Kyle Baker
Number of Pages: 137 pages
Book Number/Goal: 37/75 for 2009
My Rating: 4/5

When the mostly-black residents of East St. Louis are prevented from voting due to a "glitch" that lists them all as felons, they demand a recount. When all they get is an apology, they do the unthinkable: secede from the United States.

This was recommended to me when I posted about Truth: Red, White & Black, also illustrated by Kyle Baker. To be honest, the summary didn't grab me all that much, but I figured what the hell, why not? and put it on my wishlist. Not like graphic novels take long to read anyway.

I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I anticipated. The writing's great and I was laughing at something on practically every page. And Baker's art works a lot better here than it did in Truth, where his cartoony artwork felt a little out of place.

One thing I didn't really like was the format. It's not a comic book, or even a series of comic strips. Neither is it a text story with illustrations. It's kind of a weird hybrid, with panels laid out like a comic, but with the narration and dialogue (mostly dialogue) underneath each panel, and I found it kind of hard to follow sometimes.

Mooch on BookMooch.
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Robert Morales and Kyle Baker "Truth: Red, White & Black" - 5/5

I wish I could give this more than five stars. This is such an amazing story. Wow. Really, just...wow.

What this is is a retcon history of Captain America. The story of Captain America is that he was a guy who didn't qualify for the army in WWII, and volunteered for a government experiment that would turn him into a super soldier and allow him to fight. This comic comes up with a backstory for that. What if Captain America was not actually the first Captain America? What if others were experimented on first? And who, in actuality, did the government like to experiment on? Based on the reality of things like the Tuskeegee Experiment, it makes sense that the government would test their super soldier serum on black men (though I also agree with one reviewer I read, who said, but would the government really want to take the risk of having black super soldiers around?). This is the story of those men, especially the one survivor, Isaiah Bradley.

The story is very powerful and I highly recommend this even if you never read comics and know nothing about Captain America. I haven't read American comics since I was a kid, and never knew anything about Captain America before this. It's unnecessary. The comic gives you all the info you need to know, and believe me, you will not regret reading this, though it is a very hard story to read.

My one complaint would be the art, which is very, very cartoony and doesn't really fit the tone of the story that well (as well as not really being to my taste, but American superhero comic art is not to my taste, period; I actually think I prefer this cartooniness slightly to the usual superhero style).

Also, personally, it was hard to get used to reading the right way, as I'm used to reading manga and thus my default for comics is top right to bottom left.

(I still have the scans, if anyone wants me to upload them.)

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