Blacksad: Arctic Nation (Vol 2)

This is actually my all time favourite Blacksad volume; so much detail and subtle messaging is wrapped up in this one. While you sit back there’s a music track to keep in mind. Strange fruit, written by Abel Meeropol in 1936 (referenced on page 105).  As a reminder this graphic novel is for a mature audience; throwing around racial slurs, murders, affairs, spicy sex scenes – you know…the usual. Enjoy!

Straight out the gate this volume kicks of with a public hanging of a black bird, in a small town they call The Line. Blacksad’s new reporter companion, Weekly, mentions it being a race crime – setting the mood for the rest of the episode. His client, Miss Grey, is a school teacher reporting a missing child – Kaylie. We learn from her that the town has been riddled with crime and that no one has reported Kaylie missing – not even her own mother. This is were we first hear about the infamous ‘Black Claw gang’ just before a white supremacy rally – ranting and raving bout “cleaning the streets of black scum,”. Now, what good is a race war story without the town sellout – a partially blind air force veteran, conveniently named Cotten, who obviously plays an important role in the story.

Throughout this story Blacksad ends up in the orbit of the racial b.s which allows him to meet the prime suspects in this case. Eventually Blacksad gets tip off on where to find Dinah, Kaylie’s mum. Confining in him, she informs Blacksad that tere is something much deeper going on. Hinting at the over mistreatment of black women and perverted behaviour towards kids. Piece by piece Blacksad unravels the mystery of the kidnapping and the Klu Klux Klan members who were involved. Just when you think its over, the episode goes in for one more jab of surprise and disbelief as the final plot twist is revealed! Its a great twist, a bit disturbing but great.

This is really and truly my favourite Blacksad volume. There’s a lot more action and character development amongst the characters, which ties in perfectly with the plot and the overall subject matter. It speaks volumes about the obvious racial tension in certain areas. The racism is not watered down by any means; there are public hangings, racial slurs, through backs to “no colored people signs”, the damn KKK. Its a brave one. Its actually an eye opener to see how you can group anthropomorphic animals by the colour of their fur instead of their species. It had me going back to the first episode, and revisiting the scene where the reptiles all stuck together as a community. Are the animal species basically like nationalities?

One of my favourite moments is our first encounter with the Black Claws, its just perfect. They walk into the shop like they own the place – looking bossy. They try to take Blacksad on, because he has a white patch on his face. Obviously he handles them accordingly before the gang leaves. (We know Blacksad is a savage).

Personally, I wish that the Black Claws had more of a presence; I understood that they were subjected to being demonised and remained a mysterious gang BUT COME ON! We saw more than enough of white supremacists.

My favourite panels:

(Savage ‘Sad and the Black Claws)

Do you think Cotten was selling out or just looking out for himself? Also, let me know which is your favourite panel? If you have any suggestions of graphic novels or comics to read along with and for me to review, just drop a comment or let me know on Twitter or Tumblr




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