Darkhold: Blackbolt #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Mark Russell, art by David Cutler, inks by Roberto Poggi, colors by Matt Milla, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Having read from the Darkhold in an attempt to stop the dark god Chthon from coming to Earth, several of Earth’s champions have been twisted by the dark words of the sinister book.
Nothing is more jarring to me than when a story claims to be something it’s not. When it goes so far as to have its concept right on the title page and then not be that thing. It instantly throws the entire reading experience off. As I read the story, I keep looking for how the book will become what it says it is. But when that moment never comes, it leaves me focused on the absence of the element I was expecting, instead of the story I just experienced. This was my experience with Darkhold: Blackbolt #1.
Like previous one-shots in this event, this book bills itself as an alternative, twisted look, at how Blackbolt might have come to power. However, rather than dive into Blackbolt’s origins, the story instead delivers something entirely different. Instead, we find a recently deposed Blackbolt trapped on a penal colony, presumably sent there by his scheming brother Maximus.
As Blackbolt struggles to survive the colony’s many dangers, he slowly remembers the moments that seem to have led him to his current captivity. This air of mystery surrounding the ‘why’ of Blabolt’s predicament in Darkhold: Blackbolt #1 is cultivated nicely by writer Russell. As the story reaches its conclusion, Russell reveals the full story, which I must praise for its uniqueness. The revelation is a masterful twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming. However, it has nothing to do with Blackbolt’s origins, making the whole story feel out of place.
The art in Darkhold: Blackbolt #1 delivers its mystery-laden story quite well. Penciler Cutler does a noteworthy job with the layout of this book. Panels are arranged and overlapped in interesting ways that enhance the flow of the story nicely. The art that makes up these panels delivers Blackbolt’s predicament well, particularly in the moments where it really focuses on Blackbolt’s state of mind.
The color work throughout the story complements the lines well. Colorist Milla’s best contributions to this story are some strong lighting moments that highlight the more emotional musings of the story’s main protagonist. These lighting choices help elevate Blackbolt’s turmoil as he struggles to piece together how he has come to be where he is.
Wrapping up our look at this book’s presentation is Cowles’ lettering. The lettering flows along cleanly, providing the reader with a smooth path to follow the story.
So, to bring it all together, Darkhold: Blackbolt #1 delivers an interesting and unique tale that is certainly worth reading, just so long as you don’t expect it to be what it is advertised as in the book’s own credits page.
Darkhold: Blackbolt #1 is available December 1st wherever comics are sold.
Darkhold: Blackbolt #1
Darkhold: Blackbolt #1 delivers an interesting and unique tale that is certainly worth reading, just so long as you don’t expect it to be what it is advertised as.