Monday, May 14, 2018

Graphic Novel Review - Black Bolt Vol.1: Hard Time

Name - Black Bolt Vol.1: Hard Time
Published by - Marvel
Writer - Saladin Ahmed
Artist - Christian Ward

Letterer - VC's Clayton Cowles
Well, I have been waiting for something by 'Saladin Ahmed' for almost six years now, since my reading of his excellent novel 'Throne of the Crescent Moon'. So, I was quite excited when I heard about this new Marvel series by him. Then again, I was a bit skeptical regarding the small amount I knew about Black Bolt, as to me he always felt nothing more than just someone created to give the Inhumans an edge in the power gamble with his ability. But my fears were for nothing actually, cause this was remarkable storytelling using some small time characters and some new ones from the Marvel universe.

This story starts with Black Bolt waking up in a prison and eventually we find out how he got there. Then slowly we get introduced with to characters, some old and some new and Black Bolt and his new found allies try to escape the prison and end the reign of the jailer once and for all. In between we find out some backstory of the main character as well as of the side characters as Saladin skillfully delves into their past.

It was quite fun to finally see Black Bolt have things to say as he is mostly powerless throughout this volume. It was quite hard to ever feel for him in my past exposure to the character as he was mostly silent. But Saladin also makes a point of giving strength to the other characters, especially 'Crusher Creel' here and I personally really felt for his plight. Other characters, including Raava and Blinky were also handled quite excellently as well.

The art of 'Christian Ward' also deserves high praise. It is quite sensational with his unorthodox use of colors and almost psychedelic style. The visuals add much emotion to the experience. Ward is an artist who adds so much flavor to the storytelling that it often says much more than written words. I am quite impressed with him and quite intrigued to see more of his work.

The only flaw in my opinion is that the story progression is quite predictable. And it also can be argued that the author gave too much emphasis to the character of Creel, but for me it added an interesting dimension reading about a small time criminal for once.

I really loved this volume, felt this series was one of the best new series from last year and hope this creative team does more work together in the future.
I will give this 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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