The covers: Two different ones for fans of Black Bolt to collect. The Main cover is by Ryan Stegman and it’s a simple idea carried out fantastically. Against a hot bubble gum pink is the silhouette of Black Bolt hanging from some chains off to the right. Only the white on BB’s costume stands out to give him some depth. This is a really strong image and reminds me of Frank Miller’s early work on Daredevil. The pose of the character suggests despair and will have readers eagerly opening this book to see what’s going on. The Variant cover is by John Tyler Christopher, Mike Perkins, and Andy Troy. It’s got all the Inhumans looking serious, with Black Bolt front and center. Just to his right is Deadpool asking him an annoying question. This has nothing to do with this issue and I would rather the Variant cover show an actual character from the book. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant D-
The story: This story goes where no issue of Inhuman has gone before–addressing where Black Bolt is. He’s been assumed dead all this time, but he’s not. In New York City at a swanky nightspot, Maximus hooks up with two ladies and takes him back to his lavish apartment. Sitting in the dark is Black Bolt, his brother. He tempts him to speak to the women, but then tells him that it would be best if he didn’t. He allows the cringing women to run from the room, horrified at the sulking man in the chair. Once they’re gone, he asks Black Bolt if he thinks his wife, Medusa, is thinking about him. After all, he did release the Terrigen cloud, blew up the moon, and married three or four other women. Maximus wonders which of them is truly insane. Meanwhile, in New Attilan, two members of the Attilan Security Forces interrupt an illegal transaction. The two agents are Frank McGee, now known as Nur, and Auran. She’s been an Inhuman since birth, while he’s a police officer of twenty-six years that’s been changed by the Terrigen cloud. He’s old school, she’s young school. They make a great pair and I would follow their adventures into any book. After successfully stopping that transaction they’re called before Medusa and given a new task. The book, written by Charles Soule, goes back and forth between Maximus taking Black Bolt on insane adventures, while the two A.S.F. agents go looking for them. They meet and stuff happens. I enjoyed the detectives more so than the two brothers. I have a hard time understanding why someone as powerful as Black Bolt would be in emo-sulk mode, and this issue doesn’t give any rationale for it. Maximus also comes off as very one-note: the overly chatty villain who’s subjecting a hero to a series of indignities while believing himself to be hilariously clever. I found myself skimming that portion of the book, while lingering on the agents. The story continues next issue and I’ve got my fingers crossed that Soule will give some justification. Overall grade: B-
The art: I did not like the art when the story focused on Maximus and Black Bolt. I’m sure that my dislike of the story influenced my appreciation of the visuals, but there is something about the first four pages that I just don’t like. I think it’s the waste of space. For example, there’s a lot of space that that is devoted to the party atmosphere of the scene, but I think a long horizontal panel would have been a quicker way to establish the setting, rather than putting the focus of the three characters so far from the reader. The characters are off center in the fifth panel. I’m assuming that artist Pepe Larraz was thinking that the letterer would put the dialogue there, but there isn’t enough room to do so. The faces on the characters on Page 2 are just odd: panels with odd perspective equal characters with odd faces. Things look better with Nur and Auran, but not enough to rave about this art. It all averages out as average. Overall grade: C
The colors: There is some really nice coloring work on this book from Richard Isanove. There’s some really nice blending on colors throughout, such as in all of Page 1 and the sunset that highlights New Attilan. Too often, though, Isanove is filling empty backgrounds. It’s not his fault, he didn’t draw this book, but he ends up doing a lot of heavy lifting to provide depth to the art, such as in the stadium scene. He earned his paycheck, and then some, with this issue. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Scene setting, dialogue, and two sounds are provided by VC’s Clayton Cowles. I really like his thin lettering. I’ve always been a fan of this type of font, and Cowles does it really well. His work looks good. Overall grade: A
The final line: An average book, since the story goes in a different direction from previous issues and it’s a different artist. Overall grade: B-
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.