I really wanted to like “The Black Diamond: Get in the Car .. and Go”
The concept is killer: In the future, the U.S. government decides to make a sea-to-shining-sea highway called The Black Diamond, where there are no rules. You just get on it and drive as fast as you can and as far as you want. To keep it from becoming a demolition derby for Joe Average citizen trying to get his groceries, it’s built 150 feet up in the air. That way, all hell can be breaking lose up there, and you can still plant your daisy patch in peace.
With that seed of an idea, writer Larry Young sets out to force Mr. Joe Average on a cross-country trip to rescue his kidnapped wife. Of course, the best way he can get there is on The Black Diamond, and as you expect trouble starts tailgating him the second he hits the onramp.
But from there, the plot falls apart. In fact, it’s so impossible to follow that the foreward even warns you about it. Not a good sign, I thought as I read that bit, but I jumped in anyway.
Sure, there are elements of additional plot here: Something about who controls the gasoline of the Black Diamond. Something about the U.S. Army “invading” the Black Diamond. And yes, there’s even possibly a shot at a romantic triangle. But ultimately it all gets lost and jumbled as you move through the pages.
Instead, Young peppers us with almost-good helpings of “clever” dialogue. At first, they seem like they’re going somewhere — propelling the plot would have been a good idea — but then, they just stop and move on to a whole new, non-connected scene. The effect, probably meant to be an exercise in free association, goes from intriguing to frustrating after it happens again and again.
Readers might also think that the “Road Warrior” set up for book would mean that there’s action galore, but that doesn’t even really surface either. Instead, artist Jon Proctor is forced to give us dull shots of the road, panels of people talking and pointless collages that suck up full- and double-page spreads. Sure, there is action sprinkled throughout the book, but it’s certainly not enough to keep you entertained.
The thing is, despite this initial mistep, The Black Diamond has some amazing franchise potential. I’d love to see more, but it needs to offer more thrills and tighter focus in its next lap or else it’s just roadkill.
THE BLACK DIAMOND: GET IN THE CAR … AND GO
AIT Planet Lar
Written by Larry Young
Art by Jon Proctor
One star out of Four Stars (Great concept derailed by an incomprehensible story)