Antar: The Black Knight #1
Writer: Nnedi Okorafor
Artist: Eric Battle
Colorist: Jason Scott Jones
Letterist: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Review by Greg Brothers
As comics and graphic novels continue to grow in popularity, it has allowed for comics to cover more diverse characters and heroes. What is even more exciting is that, in addition to more fictional characters, more diverse real-life heroes and legends have become the subject of some of these books. One such real-life legend that I had never heard of was Antar, the Black Knight.
Antar: The Black Knight #1 tells the story of a bi-racial hero and poet, Antar. He was born to a female slave, but he has a king for a father. Despite being the son of royalty, Antar works as a camel driver, one of the lowest jobs in all the kingdom. Antar is not one to accept his place as a slave and instead dreams of becoming one of the mighty fighters that he sneaks off to watch late at night.
Antar: The Black Knight #1 starts with a from “The Poem of Antar” which gives an idea of who the real Antar is. However, it is the choice to have Antar’s face hanging over his fight that gives the reader an even better idea of who Antar is. The grit and determination jump off the panel as his blood-covered face shows both the pain and his desire to be better. In a move that works, Okorafor takes us back to when Antar’s mother is first captured. Doing so verifies where Antar gets much of the grit and determination that we see from him within this first issue.
Battle and Jones take Antar: The Black Knight #1 to the next level with the art. Each panel is filled with emotion and action that jump off the page. The line work in several panels makes it easy to understand how the characters are feeling as the emotions are vividly displayed across the characters’ faces. And, the use of shadows and colors work to mask some of the fears. The character designs create a difference between the royalty and the slaves, as the royalty in many panels tower over the slaves. It creates a visual representation that reminds the reader of the characters’ status.
Verdict: Buy it.
Antar: The Black Knight #1 takes a character that readers may not be familiar with and presents him in a way that is interesting and entertaining. By the end of the first issue, I was fully invested in Antar’s story and what might come next.