ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Black Cloak,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Black Cloak #1 - But Why Tho

In an unassuming apartment on the wrong side of town, a body is found murdered. This might be less eye-catching if it wasn’t for the fact that the victim is of the Elvish royal family. However, for Phaedra and Pax, the Black Cloaks assigned to investigate the situation, it makes the situation even more complicated. Phaedra is an exile from the Elves and the now-dead royal’s former betrothed. Black Cloak #1—from Image Comics, writer Kelly Thompson, artist Meredith McClaren, and letterer Becca Carey—sees the opening chapter to this intriguing new fantasy mystery unfold.

One of the best aspects of trying out new media is discovering something that takes two great things and blends them in a way you may have never thought about. In the case of Black Cloak #1, this fantastic combination comes in the form of a fresh new fantasy setting and a murder mystery.

By placing their newest tale in an original fantasy world, Thompson (Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Deadpool) extends the aura of the mysterious beyond just the whodunit at the narrative’s core. As the reader is brought along through the pages of Black Cloak #1, every panel answers questions concerning some aspect of the world or narrative, leaving the most tantalizing ones hanging, as any great mystery should.

While the murder certainly leaves plenty of interesting questions for the reader to ponder, the greater mystery is the book’s likable, if gruff, protagonist Phaedra. Her history holds all of this book’s biggest questions for me. When the narrative has her coming into contact with individuals connected to her secretive past, Thompson offers few answers while posing many more questions. Knowing the strength of her writing skills, these questions will likely deliver some truly great narrative moments when their answers are finally revealed.

Even though Phaedra steals the show, the entire cast that fills Black Cloak #1 leaves a strong impression on the reader. From Phaedra’s partner Pax and the rest of the Black Cloaks to the Elven Queen, every character feels like they have a fleshed-out personality and meaningful purpose in the story.

The art in this book provides an excellent fit for the narrative and setting. McClaren’s lines craft a unique world while bringing its residents to life. Several different locales are visited throughout this inaugural issue, each feeling apart from the others while still having a sense of interconnectedness. The lovely color palette additionally breathes life into these locations and characters. While many of the colors are on the pale end of the spectrum, key elements are contrasted against this, making these moments pop excellently when they occur.

Wrapping up our look at Black Cloak #1 is the lettering. The dialogue delivers the story in a smooth layout that provides the reader with an easy avenue to follow the story through. Combine this with the excellent sound effects design that helps build the visual style of the world, and you have a first-class lettering performance.

Bringing it all together, Black Cloak #1 starts its narrative off in an excellent fashion. It introduces memorable characters and surrounds them with both a plot and a world that is begging to be explored.

Black Cloak #1 is available on January 11th, wherever comics are sold.

Black Cloak #1


Black Cloak #1 starts its narrative off in an excellent fashion. It introduces memorable characters and surrounds them with both a plot and a world that is begging to be explored.

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