Friday, June 8, 2018



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Garth Ennis
ARTIST: Simon Coleby
COLORS: John Kalisz
LETTERS: Rob Steen
COVER: Francesco Francavilla
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (June 2016)

For mature readers

Dreaming Eagles created by Garth Ennis

Chapter 6: “A Stone of Hope”

Dreaming Eagles was a comic book miniseries created and written by Garth Ennis.  Published from late 2015 and into 2016, the series was drawn by Simon Coleby; colored by John Kalisz; lettered by Rob Steen, with Francesco Francavilla as the main cover artist.

Published in six issues, Dreaming Eagles tells the story of the first African-American fighter pilots to join the United States Army Air Force during World War II.  The narrative connects the pilots' stories with the 1960s Civil Rights movement through two characters, WWII veteran and USAAF pilot, Lt. Reggie Atkinson, and his son, Lee, a Civil Rights activist.  Lt. Atkinson recounts his experiences as a Black pilot in WWII, including his stint as a member of the “Red Tails,” to Lee.

As Dreaming Eagles #6 (“A Stone of Hope”) opens, Reggie moves the story to his last mission as a member of the Three Thirty-Second Fight Group (the Red Tails), as he and his fellow Black pilots escort U.S. Bombers on a raid into Berlin, Germany.  However, Lt. Atkinson and his friend and fellow pilot, “Fats,” return to the United States and find out that some people still don't consider Black people, even those who have defended the country, to be “Americans.”

Personal issues and sell-outs at the “local” comic book shops delayed me finishing Dreaming Eagles.  I ended up buying issues #3 and #6 on eBay.  Honestly, I did not want Dreaming Eagles to end, but the truth is that the story of the Black pilots and the Red Tails in WWII is a finite one.  As history, however, the story lives on simply because people dedicated to giving Black servicemen and servicewomen who served in WWII their due have been reviving such stories for the past few decades via various media, including books, TV and film documentaries, journalism, research, and fictional movies (such as George Lucas' Red Tails film).

I am not the only one who thinks that people who were born and who lived outside of the United States often see the truth about America's troubled race relations and race issues in a way that is clearer.  Sometimes, non-American see race in America in broader ways than citizens born and raised in the good old U.S. of A.

If Dreaming Eagles has an over-arching theme, it is that the struggle for Black people in America is an ongoing one and that progress isn't a process that ends.  One can't go just so far and then stop when the adversaries of equality and justice seem to make the struggle too hard to continue.  “Just so far” is not enough; the struggle means moving forward.  How far?  Will we know when we get there?  The answer to those questions is to fight as long as there is inequality and injustice.

The progress of the Black pilots in Dreaming Eagles epitomizes that.  Keep soaring, past the boundaries set by those who attempt to hold you back.  Thank you, Mr. Ennis and Mr. Coleby, for reminding us, not just of the WWII Black pilots' stories, but also that “just so far” isn't really far at all.


[This comic book includes a four-page preview of the comic book , “Captain Kid,” by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, and Wilfredo Torres.  There is also a two-page Q&A between Mike Marts and Ray Fawkes.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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