Cell Block Z

Fiction - Graphic Novel/Comic
112 Pages
Reviewed on 09/04/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

As a young girl growing I always looked forward to Saturdays. We would spend the day in town with my grandmother. She would give me a little money and I would head up the block to the drug store to buy a comic book. I usually went for Archie or something similar but I remember the superhero comics. Gingerly I would pick one up and thumb through it. The scenes were usually dark depicting a battle between good and evil.

None of the comic books of the past can come close to the Graphic Novels produced today. Cell Block Z is a work of art. It tells the story of Cole Dennis, a heavyweight boxer. The city looks to him as a hero. After being arrested for murder he is sent to a high-tech prison. The inmates are used like guinea pigs for bioweapons. Dennis is out yet. He is reborn as Ghostface Killah and he is filled with righteous anger.

I do not recommend this book for young adults.

Beverly Jackson

Cell Block Z by Ghostface Killah, Chris Walker, Shauna Garr, and Marlon Chapman is the story of Cole Dennis, a boxer with a formidable right hook, who is loved by his fans, despite rumors that he has thrown a fight. This graphic novel opens with Cole being arrested for murder while being honored for his community service for turning teens against terrorism which has become rampant within United States. He is quickly convicted for a crime he did not commit, based on falsified evidence, and sentenced to life without parole at the dreaded Caucasus Penitentiary, Cole is puzzled on how he went from an honored community leader to a convict in a blink of eye and is wondering what they really want from him. As Cole believes that he has found a way out of his situation, he will have to make choices that get to the heart of the matter and gives new meaning to bioweapons.

As the second book in the Wu-Tang graphic novel series and follow up on the highly successful first book in the series, I had high expectations for this one and I was not disappointed. As with the Wu-Tang musical collaborations, Ghostface Killah has assembled an excellent team to produce his book concept. A graphic novel needs works, layout and illustrations to come together in a seamless manner to effectively tell the story and keep the reader engaged, and Cell Block Z successfully executed all these elements. The layout helped convey the story and the messages and fans of the Wu-Tang clan will recognize the fast-paced flow. The words were succinct and like Ghostface Killah lyrics are not political commentaries but are politically driven. I loved the black and white illustrations which set the tone for the story and gave full effect to the words.

I recommend this book to fans of graphic novels, Ghostface Killah and the Wu-Tang Clan. Please note that there is violence in this book that may not be suited for young readers of graphic novels.