It’s been roughly a decade since writer John Ridley and artist Georges Jeanty wrapped up the original American Way mini-series at Wildstorm. Now is probably the ideal time to bring this politically and racially charged superhero series back into play, given Ridley’s higher profile post-12 Years a Slave and the generally bitter political climate we find ourselves in. And though the idea of a comic that deconstructs the superhero genre is no more novel now than it was in 2006, Ridley and Jeanty prove that they still have plenty to bring to the table.
Mirroring the real world time gap between books, Those Above and Below opens in 1972, about a decade after the events of the original mini-series. The American public has generally fallen out of love with superheroes in those ten years, leaving controversial hero New American to basically soldier on alone in a thankless job. This issue divides its time between Jason’s story, that of former Ol’ Miss-turned-First Lady of Mississippi Missy Devereaux and radical leftist Amber Eaton. With these three protagonists, Ridley is able to provide a comprehensive view of the various social struggles facing this badly divided America.