Richard King is a washed-up private eye, but in a previous life, he was an FBI agent. And like any good noir story, American Carnage begins when Richard’s previous life shows up on his doorstep with a shot at redemption: infiltrate a white-supremacist militia and take it down from the inside.
Doing that will take a lot of skill and expertise, of course — but it will also force Richard to confront his own understanding of his identity, as a biracial guy who passes for white in his day to day life.
American Carnage #1, from the pen of Bryan Edward Hill (Detective Comics, The Wild Storm: Michael Cray) and the brush of Leandro Fernandez (Wolverine, Punisher) is the third new series in DC Vertigo’s new wave of titles. (We named the first, Border Town, one of the best new comics of 2018.) The first issue was offered free to fans attending San Diego Comic-Con this summer, and now DC Comics is offering Polygon the exclusive reveal of seven pages from the comic.
A story about the inner workings of a home-grown, violent, white-supremacist hate group feels blisteringly relevant to American politics in 2018, but to Hill, American Carnage is about something much smaller scale.
“It’s really me telling a story about a character who is struggling with his own sense of self,” he told The Washington Post, “and he’s kind of an outcast, because of the choices he’s made.”
In the seven pages below, FBI agent Sheeba Curry visits Richard at his Los Angeles home. Her partner was recently murdered and mutilated by white radicals that worshipped conservative media personality Wynn Allen Morgan. She suspects that it’s not just Morgan’s message that is fueling radical violence, but his direct involvement. And since her superiors have denied her the leeway to investigate further, she’s turned to Richard.
American Carnage #1 hits shelves on Nov. 19.