Written By: LaToya Morgan & Jai Jamison
Pencils/ Inks By: Wilton Santos
Colors By: DJ Chavis
Lettering By: AndWorld Design
Published By: BOOM! Studios
Creed: The Next Round from BOOM! Studios is a continuation of the “Creed” movie franchise, which is a spin-off from the “Rocky” franchise. The comic series follows the Creed family in 2033. Biana and Adonis run Adonis Creed Athletics, Amara has begun boxing, and Adonis trains her. Biana has lost her hearing completely, which makes the dialogues between the family so important, between lip reading and BASL. Amara trains with her father at the Delphi Boxing Academy but wants more fights and better competition. This leads to Amara going to an underground fight club and being stopped by Adonis at the last second. The aftermath is a suspension in training. The next day she decides to make a very fateful visit to a fighter known as “The Butcher”… Artemis Creed!
Michael B. Jordan is the creative director of the series, and it shows. Writers LaToya Morgan and Jai Jamison have crafted a seamless transition from film to comic book continuation. The art team of Wilton Santos and DJ Chavis’ art brings you each punch, tender moment, and family drama-filled scene up close.
One of the most notable touches about the dialogue between the Creed family is their use of Black American Sign Language. You can see this in the word bubbles used; when a character uses sign language, it comes from their hands. When a character is lip reading, there is a similar word bubble to show. This can be attributed to BASL consultant Roxanne Dummet, an instructor in ASL, deaf culture, and deaf history at George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development. The creative team did an incredible job on issue one: now let’s get into the story.
The story has plenty of nods to the “Rocky” films and a very sly nod to the “Black Panther” film. The scenes in the Creed home feel intimate in seeing the Black love between Adonis and Bianca but uncomfortable with the argument between father and daughter. The gym and underground fight scene are perfect vehicles for us to be introduced to new characters that inhabit the “Creed” Universe… or maybe old characters from the world of “Rocky.” I mean, there’s a plethora of them to use. The surprise of seeing Artemis will be a great point of conflict and a possible emotional union.
Another thing is that we’re getting a comic focusing on a young, Black, deaf girl boxer. I LOVE that, and she’s written as a teen girl who also boxes. It’s another form of representation that we don’t get much of, as far as differently-abled persons. Morgan and Jamison have bridged those worlds in Amara’s portrayal. You root for her but fear the mistakes she might make in life but also in the ring, due to her young age.
The art brings a kinetic feel to the fights. You can feel the power of the ”Creed punch” from both Adonis and Amara. Apollo would be so proud. The differences in skin tone is so welcomed. Santos & Chavis have shown a wonderful array of skin tones in the Black and PoC characters of the “Creed” comic series. The facial expressions feel very vibrant. I think this may be another nuanced storytelling device to go along with the BASL word bubbles.
In closing, a strong first issue. Creed: The Next Round is a very worthy “sequel” to the movie franchise. I’m as excited to see the fights as I am about the interactions between Adonis and Artemis. The creative team hit a KO in the first round.
Antonio Pomares is an Afro-Latinx show host/geek culture personality. Currently he hosts “The Hungry Bleek Show”. An aspiring “geek polymath”, Pomares has an open mind to all of geek culture. Pomares is an avid T-shirt and coffee mug collector.