If he’s not anything else, Ghostface Killah is intriguing. His music is, his interviews are and now his literary pieces deserve that same description. Recently, I had a chance to read through Ghost’s first book, the comic sketch entitled “Cell Block Z.” Honestly, I didn’t have any type of expectations leading into it seeing as how I haven’t read a comic since I was roughly 12…and I’m 23 now.Â However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was actually a pretty good read.
The story focuses around Cole Dennis, a heavyweight boxing champion equipped with a mean right hook and the nasty rumor of his last fight being fixed. An immediate obstacle is thrown in his way when he is framed and convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, armed robbery and murder at a local bank. From here, Dennis is sent to Caucasus, which is considered the modern day equivalent to Alcatraz. By housing only the worst of the worst criminals, the story’s main character knows he is heading into an environment which values death and dignity over life and respect.
The prison, instead of rehabilitation, was run on corruption and greed. Essentially, Dennis is forced to fight for his life and enter a training regiment in which the best fighters would join a “prestigious” program known as ‘Cell Block Z.’ As a requirement, any fighter in the program was afforded legal representation. This would “help” the prisoner land an appeal and eventual release for their fighting services. The warden, Warden Giles, and the rest of the officers prove to be Cole’s worst nightmare as their only desire is to see their inmates fight like caged animals and beat one another nearly to death.
Aside from Dennis, the other main protagonists in the piece are Officer Johnson (who wants to provide spiritual counseling to inmates) and Cole’s lawyer, Kayla, who helps him crack the binary code behind the sinister dealings at Caucasus. With his only hope of escaping from the place dubbed in the book as “worst than hell”, Dennis continues to fight in the program under the alias “Ghostface Killah.” After being admitted into Cell Block Z, Dennis learns that the prison is much more than a correctional facility.Â What happens next, you’ll just have to read to find out.
With illustrations and pictures which match the tone and commentary of the story, I’d have to say Ghost’s first foray into the comic world was a success. Was it better than the Superman, Spiderman, Batman and Fantastic Four comics from years past? No, but then again harboring that expectation is unfair to Ghostface and the reader. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a good read. You know, if you like stores of corruption, government conspiracies and overcoming odds.
Rating: 4 out of 5