Rizzo Novella Review

Rizzo Novella Review

By: John C. Mayberry

Due to almost constant news exposure, one thing that has become clear to people everywhere is just how much a ticking time bomb exploding can truly do. With more scrutiny of the government and law enforcement, especially higher than ever now, due to the many injustices minorities the country over have had to suffer through, resulting from their corruption and abuse of power, the time could not be more perfect, or appropriate, for a story like Rizzo to be released. The collaboration of writer/cartoonist Ho Che Anderson and Grammy-nominated illustrator Benjamin Marra, Rizzo touches on many poignant subjects that relate to what some may say is the chaotic and fragile state of our country today. In a very vividly and well written story, complimented with excellent artwork that makes great use of warm and cool hues to add a sense of expression and empowerment behind what is depicted in each piece, Rizzo is indeed a powerful piece of literature that will leave you wanting to see where the world of Stone heads next.

Set within the world of Graciela “Stone” O’Leary, with the novella Stone being the predecessor to this story, here we follow the injustices and hardships of her friend Rizzo, and his plan of revenge and revolution against a fascist authority that regularly works towards keeping African Americans and other minorities on the lowest rung of the socioeconomic ladder, further enhancing their wealth, influence and power over the populace. Although the story itself is about 96 pages long, Mr. Anderson manages to tell a story rich with real life comparisons to many important social issues that are very close and personal to countless people, especially the subject matter of government corruption and abuse of authority on the part of law enforcement. Doubled with Mr. Marra’s impeccable skills as an illustrator, Rizzo is a masterfully written story that reflects not only on the tragic reality of the many injustices and plights that the African American community still faces today, but also one that inspires perseverance, strength and courage to stand up and do what’s right; inspiration that, now more so than ever, I think all of us need a little more of today.

After finishing Rizzo, readers everywhere (myself included) will be completely drawn into the world of Stone O’Leary, anxiously awaiting the installment into a series that will always remain an important and socially relevant piece of literary history. This world, I truly do believe, needs more stories like this, but not so much for their entertainment value. No, this story goes far beyond entertainment. The story of Rizzo it seems is a cautionary tale of the very real possibility of how this country could end up: desolate, hopeless, and with a racial divide that has been widened almost to the point of no repair. All perpetuated and maintained by a government that only looks out for its own power and self-interests above all else. A future that hasn’t happened yet, but one I like to think still has a chance of being avoided, once we can all learn to look past the facades of the powers that be and learn to come together, with no division of any kind between us, to stand for peace, justice, and the courage to change what can be changed before it’s too late.

PROS:

  • Artwork – The artwork by Benjamin Marra is nothing short or noir-esque perfection. Especially with five painted works of his, a first for this artist, he makes great use of both warm and cool hues to highlight not only how divided the future is, but the inner feelings and the bleakness of the world the main characters are forced to endure.
  • Good story pacing – In its 96-page length, Mr. Anderson masterfully describes Rizzo’s surroundings and interactions to a flawless mental image. If anyone needed a good literary example of what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes, Rizzo is it.
  • Engaging – Not revealing too much at once, Rizzo is written in such a way that you want to keep going to see what happens, how the country got to the state it’s it, how Rizzo and his friends ended up in their life situations, and especially how the story that began with Stone will progress.
  • Stark reflection of real-life current events – A great story for entertainment value for certain, but special in the way that it truly makes its audience stop and think on the current state of our country now. Corrupt officials on both left and right sides, abuse of authority, the unjust inequalities experienced by African Americans and other minorities, and anything and everything else that threatens to keep us all unfairly divided

CONS:

  • NONE – Flawless. I honestly have nothing negative to say about Rizzo. Thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait to see more!

OVERALL RATING – 10 out of 10

Poignant. Honest. And holds nothing back. Rizzo is EXACTLY the kind of story we need now. Although a work of fiction, this story will indeed resonate with millions of readers the world over with its themes of racism and inequality that unfortunately still exist in our world. Rizzo is not only one of the most entertaining, but one of the most important pieces of literature I have ever had the pleasure of reading. A fantastic, highly recommended read for everyone for sure.