After three days of WonderCon and five days of wrestling, it’s good to get back to the world of comic books. What a big week of Marvel trying to prove they still care about the X-Men, but it’s also huge for one of my top five favorite Latours ever, Jason. This week we’re talking about Black Cloud from Image Comics.
As always you can keep up with the newest books from Marvel and DC on The Beat’s rundowns.
BLACK CLOUD #1
Story: Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon
Art: Greg Hinkle
Color: Matt Wilson
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Black Cloud from Image Comics. It’s weird.
There’s just no better way of describing this new book by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, and Greg Hinkle. Even though I did not see one black cloud in this comic, it definitely delivered on my money’s worth because here weird is far from a bad thing.
Jason Latour and Ivan Brandon craft a fantasy which collides with harsh reality. A tale about a seemingly young woman named Zelda. She comes from a world of dreams where animals own bars and few things are in color. Why leave such a wonderful place? We don’t quite know yet, but she has come to the real world in order to escape from something. Even trading prevalence and prestige in her world for stealing from hot dog vendors in the real one. When a mayor up for reelection needs his son hidden from the public eye, he’ll enlist Zelda’s services. She’s tasked with hiding out the douchey black sheep of his family in her extraordinary alternate world. In typical comic book fashion, everyone will get more than they bargained for.
What’s immediately striking about Black Cloud is Greg Hinkle’s art. While you might know his work from Airboy with James Robinson, Greg’s work on these pages favorably captures the center of a Venn diagram of fantasy and real world based adventure. Even the pages that use a Sin City color focus effect are framed so carefully it makes all the right bits pop. Bits of over expressiveness that make a book like Kirkman’s Invincible great influence the art in Black Cloud, doing for fantasy what the ladder book did for superhero comics. Adding a layer on top of already superb art is Matt Wilson’s color finishes. Those black & white panels splashed with strategic color would have been too jarring if not for the colorist choice use of gradient. Everything I just said is all second to the simply ravishing level of design Hinkle creates this world with. Just look at this.
Black Cloud is a story for anyone who enjoys a bit of magic with their addiction stories. While the mystical elements lend a bit of whimsy and adventure feel to the story, make no mistake at its core this book has some serious dark tone. There’s no better haunting than a world made up of dreams. A thing that can bring joy when fulfilled and cause pain when we see them shattered. When these dreams become the lifeblood of an unknown world, we can only imagine what horror it is Zelda is running from. This character has some compelling gray areas to be exploited. On the one hand, she’s simply trying to survive in a shitty real world that could use some dreams. Is her survive at all costs way of life justified? We don’t get that particular answer in the opening but the set up makes you want to know more.
[WON] Black Cloud #1 is a thunderstorm of intrinsic crisis preceded by lightning bolts of weirdness. It should be on your reading list!
Here’s the rundown of this week’s #1 comics:
- KILL SHAKESPEARE PAST IS PROLOGUE JULIET #1 (IDW)
- REVOLUTION AW YEAH #1 (IDW)
- MIGHTY MAN ONE-SHOT (IMAGE)
- ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN #1 (IMAGE)
- ROYALS #1 (MARVEL)
- X-MEN GOLD #1 (MARVEL)
- AMORY WARS GOOD APOLLO #1 (BOOM!)
- COLOSSI #1 (VAULT)
- DARK SOULS TALES OF EMBER #1 (TITAN)
- DOCTOR WHO GHOST STORIES #1 (TITAN)
- ELEANOR & THE EGRET #1 (AFTERSHOCK)
- KIM REAPER #1 (ONI)
- PENNY DREADFUL #1 (TITAN)
- RIVERDALE (ONGOING) #1 (ARCHIE)
- TANK GIRL WORLD WAR TANK GIRL #1 (TITAN)