THE BLACK DIAMOND #1-2
Written by Larry Young and Drawn by Jon Proctor
Published by AiT/PlanetLar
Reviewed by Marc Mason
REPRINTED FROM CWR 2.0
In the year 2016, in an effort to curb bad driving on the nation’s traditional highways, the government built The Black Diamond, a coast-to-coast superhighway with no rules except one: step on the gas and go. Hard. But now, five years later, the government’s feelings have changed, and they’ve decided to send in the Army and clean up the Diamond… maybe even shut it down. But the lawless culture that sprung up on the Diamond over the years isn’t having that- at all. So they decide to take a hostage, a woman named Kate Maddox. Kate’s the daughter of the Diamond’s designer, giving her some value. However, the Army doesn’t give a shit about collateral damage, which means her husband, Dr. Don McLaughlin DDS, is going to have to brave the Diamond himself, crossing the country in record time in the hopes of saving the love of his life. No plan, no talent for fighting, and no special love of driving fast… the Diamond isn’t something he can give a root canal. It looks like Kate’s kinda screwed.
THE BLACK DIAMOND ON-RAMP shipped nearly two years ago, so saying this book was long in the making would be an understatement. Fortunately, it’s solidly worth the wait. The setup is pure pulp: this is a 70s exploitation flick brought to life. Fast cars, lawless madmen, uncaring government… we’ve seen these pieces before, and we like them. This is exactly the kind of story that Rodriguez and Tarantino were homaging in GRINDHOUSE. Young offers just enough exposition to give you the gist of things, and then steps back and lets Proctor take over, a wise move. Proctor’s stuff reminds me very much of Tony Harris’ early work, which, for those uninitiated, means it’s damned easy on the eyes.
Issue one is all Don and exposition, but issue two gets to the heart of things. We meet Kate and her captors, get introduced to the man who is truly behind the move to clean up the Diamond, and get introduced into a secondary plot that looks like it will provide Don with a traveling companion. Even with new-father Young falling a little too much in love with his dialogue, the pacing and interest level jacks up immensely, and demonstrates quite well that the next four issues hold a lot of promise.
There’s also a back-up story in issue one by Dennis Culver (whose mini-comic work I’m very familiar with) and one in issue two from Ken Lowery and Benjamin and Marlena Hall, each telling an amusing tale of life above on the Diamond. In short, a strong effort that I look forward to reading more of.