Detroit, 1972. It is a time of social unrest. It is a time of blatant bigotry and extreme compassion. While some seek to lift each other up, all others can do is try to pull those they see as “lesser” down.
The first page illustrates this with a smattering of newspaper clippings. “Nixon steps up bombing. . .” “Segregationist Wallace wins Michigan” blair the headlines. A storefront has “going out of business” on its front. In the lower left of the page is a different type of newspaper clipping it is meant to draw the eye. “City on the Edge,” it reads. By Elena Abbott.
The era is set in just one page. The second page informs us of the exact location. It’s the Detroit Mounted Unit stables. A group of men (white men) are clustered together in the stables talking. Somethings tickets. Enter Abbott. The first frame with Abbott in it has a camera angle that is as if the photographer is shooting from the hip. It makes Abbott look tall, her 70s high waisted pants make her legs look long, and she has a camera with a leather strap around her neck.
The white men, police and journalists alike, regard her with apprehension. She isn’t the most popular person with the police, a not only because she’s black; she wrote a piece about police brutality that landed a bunch of these guys’ friends in hot water after they’d beaten up young black man.
But what their looking at now is a decapitated horse. The weirdest thing is, however, they can’t locate its body. Only its head. That’s the hook. But if that’s not enough, things aren’t going well with the up-ups the Detroit Dailey where Abbott works. The bosses don’t like her for that cop story either, and they want her gone–only the editor stands up for her.
The character of Abbott is a creature of habit. She demonstrates some real human actions, she also sets herself goals and payoffs as a journalist, just like I do for my creative writing. She always has 2 brandies at night, after she’s finished her work–but not before. She had a writing habit, and due to this, perhaps, a drinking habit. I try to avoid that second one.
This piece gets all supernatural and weird pretty quickly, and despite the potential cliche constructs in this story, it’s told so well that it never becomes just those cliches. It’s more than that. Better. A great first issue to a promising series.