If you think about dogs in comics it’s really only Superman who has the best one around. Well, that is if you forget about Lockjaw! Lockjaw is a main focus in this latest issue of Black Bolt from creators Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Frazer Irving.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
REDEMPTION COMES CLOSE… • As Black Bolt turns the tables on the evil Jailer! • But what about his fellow prisoners? Given a choice, will the Midnight King choose the company of thieves? • And what hope do they have against a creature who knows their deepest secrets?
Why does this matter?
Aside from a new TV show, the Inhumans have been a focal point for Marvel for some time. It’s probably why they got Ahmed to write it, as he has had a pretty great career writing novels. Christian Ward has given this book the visual wow factor necessary to get folks to hold onto their butts and enjoy this ride.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Aww he’s so cute!
This issue opens with Lockjaw, and he’s flipping cute, guys. Ahmed and Irving (who draws the first five pages) not only make you fall in love with the mutt, but they also reveal how Black Bolt was born a slave of sorts. His only freedom from imprisonment was his trusty dog. It gives Lockjaw a bit of meaning and emotional purpose as the story cuts to the now and we pick up where the last issue left off. Black Bolt has been rescued by Lockjaw and now he faces a decision to go to his people or make short order of the prison that took a part of his mind. Ahmed writes these scenes as he contemplates well with captions that bring you inside Black Bolt’s head in a very real way.
Much of this issue, rendered beautifully by Ward, is all about a breakout. The heroes succeed and quickly, though the few altercations do slow things a bit. The comic has a great pace once things get underway at the prison and it helps build up anticipation and ultimately pull the rug out a bit by the end.
There’s some beautiful work in this issue. Ward draws some complex layouts with panels spilling into each other, interesting perspectives used, and even a warped look here and there. The color is gorgeous, like an artist dropping paint and it somehow splashing perfectly. It’s possibly one of the prettiest comics that comes out every month.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Once things get going with the prison the story really starts rolling, but there is a jerkiness between the opening with Lockjaw and then Black Bolt deciding on what to do. These scenes just don’t flow organically and end up feeling like separate parts. Though the general pace of much of the rest of the book is great it does involve the heroes succeeding almost too easily. Given how we’ve seen them be impossibly beaten for four issues it’s a tad strange.
Is It Good?
Black Bolt continues to be an intriguing story with a narrative about prisons we live in, create, and fight against. Visually it’s stunning every step of the way. Simply put, it’s great.