Review: Amazing Adventures #33

Amazing Adventures #33 cover
Cover by John Romita and P. Craig Russell

Amazing Adventures #33
Published and © by Marvel, November 1975

Title: “Sing Out Loudly … Death!”
Synopsis: During a layover in what was once West Virginia, Killraven discovers a society of African-American separatists living underground.

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Herb Trimpe
Inker: D. Bruce Berry

Review: Wow, Amazing Adventures #33 is one tricky comic book to review. It is very likely Little Me would have found this strange story intriguing, with its mix of underground dystopia, African tribal stereotypes and blaxploitation tropes. But, through the lens of current racial norms, it’s more than a little problematic. Give Marvel some credit for trying to tap into the social issues of its time, but this clunky exercise in cultural appropriation should have been uncomfortable at the time of its original publication, too. This fill-in issue also disrupted the momentum the regular creative team was building. Not a winner.

Grade: C

Second opinion: “The story itself, unfortunately, reinforces a number of stereotypes while poking fun at others. … 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.” – Comics Buyer’s Guide #1656, August 2009

Cool factor: D. Bruce Berry – the regular inker on Kamandi, a contemporaneous, post-apocalyptic title from the Distinguished Competition – is a better-than-average fit for Herb Trimpe’s pencils. 
Not-so-cool factor: Still feeling the need to enroll in racial-sensitivity training after reading this one.

Collector’s note: Beware, this issue contains a Marvel Value Stamp (Series A) #52 (Quicksilver). … According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 9p British variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “While whitey’s cities was burnin’ – de people decided dey didn’t want to switch from being slaves to whitey bein’ slaves for de Martians.” – The Head Man, decked out in his best pimp finery

Editor’s note: This review was written Dec. 5, 2021.

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