My friend sent me this for Christmas, having had his interest captured by the tagline: “What if Superman were Black.”

Emissary, from Image Comics, is about the sudden appearance of a Black man in New York City who walks on air, proclaiming himself to be The Emissary, come to enlighten us. The military does what the military apparently does best and tries to shoot him down, only to have him not only stop the attacking jet, but save all the civilians below from the shattered glass caused by a jet hanging out in Times Square. Chaos ensues with protesters, religious zealots, politics and kitchen sinks having their say in the matter of this mysterious visitor.

 The comic tries to play up the human reaction that inevitably leads to violence. There is also the issue the tagline presents: racism. Unfortunately, the series fails to deliver on these topics, glossing over them, as well as believable FBI protocols (two lowly agents are permitted to question an extra terrestrial being all by themselves?) and the personal lives of the characters involved. Emissary travels the world not doing much enlightening, while growing more and more upset with the human reaction.

 I am not familiar enough with Superman’s initial appearance and how he was treated by the world, nor do I know what he had to offer. Emissary proclaims himself a bringer of enlightenment, but spends very little of his time teaching humans anything. This is pointed out to him by issue number six, but as this was the last issue in my collection, I don’t know if the title finally decided to actually address that problem.


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