BLACK BOLT #4 by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward
The fourth issue of BLACK BOLT is an immersive work that propels a thrilling series forward.
85 %
Creative and Engaging
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Previously in BLACK BOLT, our titular hero attempted to lead an escape of his fellow prisoners against the entity keeping them entrapped. They found their captor: the Jailer. To their surprise, though, they found the Jailer using a device that fed off the suffering of his prisoners. In a heroic attempt to defeat the enemy and save his peers, Black Bolt attacked the Jailer. Unfortunately, he failed. BLACK BOLT #4 picks up where the previous issue left off, with our hero recovering and reflecting on his life and the moments that have led him to the prison in which he remains.

black bolt #4
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

A Noble Prisoner

The issue commences with a powerless Black Bolt and Crusher Creel bickering about their confinement. Once they accept their inability to escape, the two begin sharing details about their personal lives. Creel reveals that his dark childhood translated into a criminal lifestyle until he met the love of his life: Titania. Creel’s openness about his past prompts Black Bolt to reflect on his own relationship with his love, Medusa, and his lost son, Ahura. Suddenly, a familiar face appears to take Black Bolt out of the prison, leaving a remorseful Creel all alone.

READ: Need a refresher? Check out ComicsVerse’s review for BLACK BOLT #1!

Despite the more somber tone of the issue, the moments of humor between Black Bolt and Creel are heartening. The two maintain a positive dynamic that brings out the personality of the usually silent Black Bolt. With this, I enjoy the third person narration of Black Bolt’s thoughts and actions that are present throughout the issue. It ultimately provides insight into his personal doubts and fears in regard to his entrapment and the life he maintained outside of his prison.

BLACK BOLT #4 definitely moves at a slower pace than previous issues. There is little to no action present, as the primary focus is on the characterization of the issue’s two central characters. This focus on characterization proves to be successful since Black Bolt and Crusher Creel become tangible characters. They are no longer individuals merely trapped in a prison. Rather, they are individuals who have had to make difficult decisions and suffer the consequences. As a result, though the issue may not progress the narrative of the overlying story arc, writer Saladin Ahmed succeeds in developing these engaging characters.

black bolt #4
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Palette of BLACK BOLT #4

Christian Ward’s detailed drawings make for expressive characters. Because this issue is particularly character-centric, the artwork elevates the significance of Black Bolt and Crusher Creel’s backstories even further. One sequence in particular, depicted above, expertly showcases Crusher Creel’s evolution from an innocent young boy to an angry young man. Subtleties such as the ones in this sequence are present throughout this issue, making for an immersive reading experience.

READ: Read up on what’s in store for Marvel’s INHUMANS TV series, set to debut fall 2017!

Though Christian Ward’s illustrations are well-executed, his coloring choices prove to be the issue’s stand-out aspect. He consistently implements contrast between dissimilar colors that parallel the tone of a specific sequence. Clayton Cowles’ lettering parallels this contrast, contributing to a cohesive depiction of the characters and their moods.

The artwork suspends the issue from reality through the manner in which the colors are blended, contributing to the perception that this prison is otherworldly. This freedom permits Ward to implement beautiful, chaotic elements into the issue that augments the work’s creativity and originality.

black bolt #4
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Future of The Silent King

BLACK BOLT #4 is certainly an engaging entry in Ahmed’s series. The artwork is phenomenal, and the personal narratives of the primary characters are quite poignant. With this said, I hope future issues spend time developing the overlying plot. There is much to know about the mysterious Jailer and his strange activities. Also, I hope Black Bolt and Creel reunite to partner up against their common enemy. Because this issue, and previous issues, have been particularly entertaining, I am confident that upcoming issues will be just as thrilling.

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