The Crew #1-7 (2003-2004)

This series picked up right where the last issue of Black Panther ended: Kasper Cole is now the new White Tiger, and he is still trying to take down the 66 Bridges Gang that (unbeknownst to Kasper), Cole’s own father runs from inside of prison.

Called by many fans, “The Black Avengers,” a crew begins to form around Cole. First, there’s Rhodey. He’s not being War Machine any more, but he’s got a long history of superheroics and has a lot to add to Cole’s war against the gang. Jim gets involved when his little sister is killed by the 66 Bridges Gang.

Then, there’s Josiah X, son of the black Captain America who appeared in the series Truth: Red White and Black. He’s also, I believe, the first Muslim Marvel hero. We get a LOT of fantastic development of his past, from his childhood, where he was abandoned and raised by nuns, through his military service. His strong belief in community is what motivates him to work with Cole and the rest of The Crew.

In issue #3, we meet Danny Vincent, aka Junta. He’s introduced as a member of the 66 Bridges Gang with mixed motives, but eventually does work with The Crew.

They finally do take down the Gang in issue #7, but then the series abruptly ends–cancelled. Each member of the team is an orphan, and Priest’s goal for these seven stories was just to whet our appetite and introduce them–flesh them out. He had great plans to go further here, but never got the chance.

The final panel has Rhodey paying one last, graveside tribute to his sister.

The story behind this series is kinda tragic. It’s great–really great–and yet it got cancelled because it was about black heroes. At least in part, and at least according to Priest. I recommend reading the post that he wrote, which you can find here.

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