Writer: Brandon Thomas / Artists: Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez, and Deron Bennett / Image Comics/Skybound
After Excellence #4, I was expecting that #5 would start answering some questions. Let me tell you, I was wrong. This issue is again short on answers, but long on its strengths: electric visuals; thoughtful considerations of the relationships between Black men as friends, fathers, and sons; and rage.
Five: Change and Die
You’ll recall, Spencer and Aaron, fought so hard and so long they have co-mingled their minds and memories. Aaron thinks it is an unintended effect of their spells. I have other theories. What ever the cause, Aaron is slowly losing his memory, to have his brain space replaced with Spencer’s memories. ALL of them. Even the intimate ones of his love for the woman he was sworn to protect. Imagine Aaron, who’s never let himself get close to anyone unless it was to beat them to the ground, spends his nights dreaming of making love with a woman he’s never met. It is enough to make you go more than a little crazy. He swears to free himself from this “curse”.
Meanwhile, his father is up to something. Something important enough for him to break the fourth rule: The Use of Magic by Females Is Not Allowed. Now you know that’s some shit because the word “females” is used instead of women. Daddy Dales brings in a woman, Monique, to keep tabs on Aaron.
This issue gets a little talky for me, but the team keeps hitting all the right beats. As I’ve said in the past, keep your eyes on the panel notes for what year it is and that will lead you through.
What Daddy Dales is up to is a deep secret that only he has the details on. And Aaron, as usual, is too tied up in his own drama to pay any attention to his father anyway. But Monique, the only person with the perspective to see both of them as people, she puts somethings together. What? I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out in Excellence #6.
7.5 Black women to the rescue out of 10
Reading Excellence? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.