Black Bolt Vol. 1: Hard Time (Marvel Comics)
STORY : Saladin Ahmed
ART : Christian Ward
Absolutely fucking gorgeous.
THIS is what is a true sleeper hit and something that will without a doubt develop a cult following.
I almost never swear or such in these things but, DAMN!
Between the art and the writing, these two guys are FAST becoming amongst my favourite new-to-the-scene creators.
Black Bolt was always an enigmatic character and an intriguing one but within the first issue, Saladin Ahmed has made him more interesting here than he’s ever been to me! For the first time ever, I WANT to read more and more of this character.
Basic Recap: Black Bolt awakens, powerless and bound, in an ungoldy prison – the result of his insane brothers trickery and scheming. He is alone. One of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe of heroes (which is saying a lot!), a king, a hero… now at a breaking point, alone and trapped. Alone except for a motley and dangerous bunch of criminals from across the galaxy all with agenda’s of their own AND a deadly and viciously malevolent force running the prison holding them all.
Between B.B. and the under-rated fan favourite villain Crusher Creel who has had a lot of interesting character development in spurts over the years, we have two fantastic leads of diametrically opposite types – one a restrained king with inhuman power and all that comes with it, the other a low-born and aggressive criminal granted great power – who somehow work as a duo.
And it’s not the action, but the humanity, the stories, the subtler moments that really sell this story. That and a fun supporting cast that was also unexpectedly intriguing.
Throw in a great new villain, interesting settings and rules and some really trippy, terrifying and fantastic artwork by Christian Ward and you have one of the best books of the past year.
Recommended to almost anyone and everyone!
STORY SCORE: 10 / 10
ART SCORE: 9 / 10
OVERALL SCORE: 9.5 / 10