Art: Bilquis Evely
Vol. 1: #1-6
Appropriately KiV's first step away from the traditional set-up of the blog leaves one foot firmly planned in our origins. Marrying our love of Exploitation Cinema and Comic Books, Dynamite Comics have offered up Shaft, based on but set before the Richard Roundtree movies, this six issue first volume tells the tale of newly-returned Vietnam vet John Shaft (you damn right!) as he attempts to carve out a life for himself on the mean streets of NYC. Finding himself in over his head, Shaft sets out to right a wrong that has fallen upon the woman he loved and heaven help anyone who gets in his way.
The writing for Shaft is incredibly sharp, close-to-the-bone in many places and extremely faithful to the time period it is attempting to honour. Walker's use of racial slurs (on all sides) gives the book a tension from page one and it's a tension that only buildings through the six issues. Shaft recently won the Glyph Award for Best Story and it is really easy to see why but it's not all down to Walker. Evely's art is vibrant, challenging and extremely visceral. It picks up from where Walker's full-stops land and creates a hardboiled atmosphere which makes you think "yeah, I would totally watch this Shaft!" (just saying Netflix). Drop in on top of that some truly gorgeous variant cover art from Francesco Francavilla (The Black Beetle - which we'll be reviewing soon) and what you've got is closer to art than commerce.