In Review: The Black Knight #2

The title character doesn't appear until the end, but there's plenty to enjoy with two baddies battling. 

The covers: This issue has six covers for collectors to find. The first is the A cover by Igor Vitorino and Ivan Nunes. This is a spectacular illustration of the Black Knight on her mount, which has its right front leg up. The hero holds the beast’s reigns in her left hand and her sword up in her right. The horse stands upon a rocky crag with a spectacular nighttime view of the city behind it. Lighting is exploding across the blue sky. This is fantastic. Absolutely print, poster, and tee shirt worthy. The B cover is by Jason Metcalf and Juan Manuel Rodriguez and it’s a little rough. Sirin is leaping down upon the title character. The villain has black wings that are disappearing as a mace appears in her right hand while her left conjures black smoke. The Black Knight holds her sword in both hand before her and is not looking at Sirin, but the smoke that’s begun to engulf her. The smoke is really sketchy and there’s no background. At least the reds used for the background make the black clad characters stand out. The C is a stunner by Josh Burns. This features Sirin walking toward the reader, a black mace held indifferently in her right and her left hand held up, revealing long sharp digits that are glowing light blue. Large black feathered wings emerge from her back, giving her the appearance of a fallen angel. Around her swirls back and gray smoke. This is amazing! Also amazing is the  D cover by Ryan Pasibe and Nunes. Peyton is shown mid transformation. She’s on her knees, looking at the reader, angered to have a witness. Black tentacles of smoke swarm at her and wrap around her body. Beneath her white energy is making the ground turn green. Behind her oranges highlight her upper body. This is powerful. There are also two exclusives, but, sadly, I couldn’t find images of them online. They include: the Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Paul Green and Hedwin Zaldivar and the Zenescope Exclusive (limited to 25) by Green and Zaldivar. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A, B C, C A+, and D A+

The story: Riker’s Island, New York. Peyton Parks is being led down a dark hallway by two guards. She’s hoping what she’s about to do is just a quick in and out this time. They enter a brightly lit hall and then she goes into a room where her assistant Brin Land is sitting opposite Nikolai Bakunin, ‘Grade A scumbag. My client.” Peyton tells him they have a lot of work to do if they’re going to get him into witness protection. Meanwhile at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, Bakunin’s former boss, Russian mob leader Nadia Vasiliev, is about to be joined by another much younger in her bath but is interrupted by Sirin who wants to be sent out to kill Bakunin, rather than members of the the Grigor family. She chastises Sirin, telling her she already has something in place to deal with him. A crash downstairs stops their conversation. Back in the prison, Bakunin keeps mum about giving any other information to Peyton to get him into witness protection, even after learning the deal is off the table if he doesn’t come up with something new by noon Friday. Frustrated, Peyton tells Brin to pack up, “If this idiot’s too stupid to help himself, there’s nothing more we can –” A ping from the computer changes the killer’s countenance and he asks Peyton to stop. This second issue, conceived by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Terry Kavanagh, written by Kavanagh, is a tense one because every two pages the story changes setting, moving from Peyton to Sirin and back again. The henchwoman finds a powerful foe in Nadia’s house and their fight is ferocious, while revealing Sirin’s superhuman ability. Peyton, on the other hand, is dealing with a series of foes in the prison. I enjoyed the jumping back and forth and what happened in each location. Great cliffhanger, too. Overall grade: A

The art: The first page of this book starts things off with an ominous tone: a small vertical panel shows a powerful bolt of lightning against a downpour onto the prison, while the larger panel (the remainder of the page) shows the three characters entering the prison with long shadows preceding their walk. The second page has the trio in a better lit room, with Peyton between two guards. The next panel is looking down upon the room where Brin, Bakunin, and two other guards are waiting. This is important because proximity will become important later. Page 3 introduces Nadia’s house, her and her pair of companions, and Sirin. When Nadia leaves the tub there’s a prominent tattoo on the back of her neck; this will also be important later. Nadia’s face and hair is outstanding on this page. The final panel on Page 5 is a complete change in Bakunin. The next page has Sirin making her way downstairs in the dark, ending with a great reaction. Page 7 is a well drawn page and introduces three characters at an unusual location; they only appear on this page, but will undoubtedly return. The reaction that ends 8 is terrific visual foreshadowing. The action on 9 is outstanding, with Sirin’s abilities revealed; I love the perspective in the final panel on 10. The emotions on three characters’s faces on 12 is a good match for their words and thoughts. 14 and 15 show two characters fighting, with five panels that fan at the top, crossing both pages; I love when artists do this well. The action that ends 19 had me excited for the actions to come. The book’s final panel is a ghastly surprise that crystallizes one character’s strength. This is an outstanding job by Segio Ariño. Overall grade: A

The colors: The first page’s ominous artwork is assisted by Bobby Bevard with grays and blues highlighted by white lightning. Once within the holding room, the lighting is brighter, giving an authentic air to the proceedings. Peyton’s narration is given a blue tint, alerting the reader as to who is thinking those thoughts. Take at look at the reflection on the table and the floor accomplished by the colors. Peyton stands out being dressed in a black suit and having long blonde hair, while Brin’s lime green top and red hair has her catch the reader’s attention. Oranges dominate the third page due to the copious candles present. This colors also seems to drape these criminals in blood. The dark interiors of Vasiliev’s home are done in different shades of blue which allows the reader to see all the art, but also assume the lights are out. The green on 9 is a an excellent way to have a character stand out during the fight. The reds used for the sound on 11 are perfect for the action. When fire dominates the story, yellow and orange are used on 14 and 15 well; I especially like how the panels are outlined in yellow against a black background — this makes the action more intense. Reds return for the ghastly conclusion, for reasons that are obvious. Overall grade: A

The letters: Saida Temofonte’s text for this issue includes scene settings, sounds, narration, dialogue, yells, computer text, and whispers. The scene settings are unlike anything I’ve seen in any other book, which is a good thing. I love the elaborate first letter that gives the book a foreign flavor, followed by smaller capital letters. They’re really neat. The narration is in a different font from the dialogue, which is a sign of a smart letterer. The sounds are extremely powerful with the fight scene being epic. These sounds are what pushed Temofonte to the top for me. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The title character doesn’t appear until the end, but there’s plenty to enjoy with two baddies battling. The story creates some solid tension by bouncing between two settings and having a monstrous fight occur. The visuals demonstrate the villains’ abilities in a massive smack down. The Black Knight continues to be entertaining. Overall grade: A

To order a print copy go to https://shop.zenescope.com/collections/the-black-knight-single-issues/products/the-black-knight-2

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/The-Black-Knight-2/digital-comic/735062?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five 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.
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