Here we are at the penultimate issue of Black Bolt, and it’s a doozy. In the last issue, the inhuman villain Lash took Bolt hostage and pumped him full of poison so he could use his power to set off a second terrigen bomb. As if the first terrigen bomb didn’t cause enough bullshit! Lash’s stint as a villain in this series was short-lived though as this issue starts with his demise. Blinky and Bolt have been taken over by their former jailer, and neither Bolt, Titania or Lash are able to stop him.
This series, all about fatherhood and responsibility, has been notably lacking the title character’s actual son, Ahura, and this has been one of my main gripes since it began. That completely turns around in this issue as Ahura meets Blinky in the astral plane. Their exchange was as good as it gets regarding the drama that has been surrounding Bolt and Ahura since Ahura was old enough to understand the situation. Ahura obviously is very hurt that Bolt had taken in Blinky, but to see them find some understanding within each other and join together to beat the jailer was a great development.
The B plot, with Titania hijacking one of Lash’s henchmen’s planes to get help, started out boring but became better when Crusher is revealed to be alive! I predicted that he wouldn’t stay gone for long, but it’s really nice to see this series come full circle with him. Titania has been such a great character through these last few issues, and I can’t wait to see how the next issue pans out regarding this reveal. The other reveal, Blinky and Ahura finding Bolt’s child self and his objectively terrible parents in the astral plane, was an interesting one. I didn’t particularly like the insinuation that his mother didn’t play a part in how Bolt was treated as a child, but I can see with the themes of fatherhood throughout this series that the jailer might be connected to Agon (or even be Agon himself.)
Christian Ward keeps up the amazing work with the art in this issue. Every page is so full of depth and vivid detail and brings such a unique artistic footprint. I love the design of the jailer, especially the version that appears in this issue. It’s imposing and sinister without sacrificing the clarity that it has taken over Blinky’s body. He does draw Ahura in a way that makes him look much older than he’s supposed to be, but that’s not a problem exclusive to Ward’s art. I’m really looking forward to the final issue on the story front, but even more so on the art front. With something as climatic as a finale to one of the best received Marvel series of recent years, I’m bubbling with excitement to see what Ward brings to the table.
Black Bolt #11 is a great issue that utilizes the past of the characters with the emotion and depth of the rest of the series. With art that’s like candy for the eyes, and thoughtful writing that makes every word and panel matter, Ward and Ahmed have proved that you can still tell evocative and heartfelt stories that raise the bar and push the boundaries of everything we know about comics in a superhero story.