Black Bolt has always been a strange character, but that’s kinda the point of the Inhumans isn’t it? The character’s power, (he has the power to level cities just by speaking), certainly adds a level of difficulty when writing, but writer Saladin Ahmed has gotten around that as his powers were taken when sent to a strange alien prison. Can Black Bolt break out of jail without his powers to bail him out?
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
It’s funny that, with Black Bolt finally talking he’s probably in less need of great art, but then Christian Ward brings some incredible visuals to make it all even better. This book is seriously delightful visually, with panels taking you off guard and revealing incredibly beautiful visuals.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The team up you never saw coming continues with Metal Master, the Absorbing Man, Raava and Blinky joining Black Bolt to acquire their powers. As they navigate the labyrinthine halls of the prison Ahmed mixes in two surprise action scenes, which both defy your expectations and play around with different dynamics. This issue also serves to offer up the most supernatural, science fictiony elements yet, as Ahmed reveals what has been taking the characters’ powers. No spoilers here, but damn is it freaky! The narrative in this issue has a nice mix of superheroics, science fiction ideas, and twists on tropes you’ve come to expect. Overall it’s an entertaining issue that progresses the story well.
Ward draws another spectacular issue with so many god damn great images it should be a crime he can stuff so much into the issue. Take a moment where Black Bolt punches, rings of orange circling his fist in one panel, then rings with a bit more chaos in another around his fist, and finally a massive blow with a cloud bursting out. It’s only half the page, but it does well to showcase the power of Black Bolt. In another page, the characters witness the machine that took their powers, and it’s at once random, but beautifully designed with pink and purple color accents. Energy blasts and movement are particularly good looking and Ward always seems to amp things up and make it feel new.
Look who decided to show up.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a good deal of standing around and talking as Black Bolt refuses to take orders from the Absorbing Man that don’t add a lot to the narrative. Black Bolt is obviously a king and filled with pride, but it seems to only delay the scene rather than add much to it. Thankfully this isn’t a problem throughout the issue and is more of a hiccup.
Is It Good?
Great plot progression and insanely good art make this a fantastic chapter in a story everyone will need to buy when it’s collected. Black Bolt is already an enigma and this series makes him feel new in so many ways.