Beware, spoilers for BLACK BOLT #7 abound!

Saladin Ahmed’s take on the notable Black Bolt has been met with acclaim from both critics and fans alike. In this series thus far, Ahmed has managed to portray a silent, introspective character in a dynamic way. As a result, the series depicts Black Bolt through an innovative form readers have never seen before. We as readers are capable of immersing ourselves in his thoughts, understanding our titular hero’s struggles. In BLACK BOLT #7, Black Bolt’s character is enhanced even further. We witness new facets of his nature, ones that exemplify hope in a state of despair.

black bolt #7
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Ghosts of Dreams Past

The narrative of BLACK BOLT #7 is one of a simpler nature than previous issues. Black Bolt has evaded the wrath of The Jailer, saving a child named Blinky in the process. So, the primary focus of this issue is their journey to Black Bolt’s home. Despite his newfound freedom, though, our titular hero still finds himself at odds with his own fears. His dreams exemplify his darkest thoughts as they remind him of the horrors he faced in captivity. As a result, he stays awake, alert, waiting for the next threat to inevitably attack him and his new companion, Blinky.

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Interestingly, though, it is not exactly Black Bolt’s dreams that come to life. Blinky’s own dreams manifest into haunting entities. With this, I must say that the motif of dreams in this particular issue is quite compelling. They exemplify the fears of the primary characters that they themselves may not want revealed. Thus, it will be interesting to see if this motif persists in future issues.

These fears our characters exemplify become real in an unexpected manner. As Black Bolt and Blinky make their escape, they find themselves confronted by forces who are not permitting them to continue their journey home to Attilan. Black Bolt faces an impossible decision: let these forces kill himself and Blinky if they cannot evade them successfully, or kill them first and have Blinky witness yet another horrifying act. Once again, we come to understand Black Bolt’s indecision and struggle through his personal thoughts. Black Bolt’s subconscious empowers the narrative of this series, providing a unique way to drive the plot as we find ourselves immersed in his stream of consciousness.

Ultimately, Black Bolt makes the decision to kill his opposing forces to transport Blinky and himself back home, perhaps the one place he does not fear.

black bolt #7
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Many Hues of BLACK BOLT #7

Like the rest of the series, the artwork of BLACK BOLT #7 is absolutely masterful. In this issue, Frazer Irving takes the reigns as illustrator and excels. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Irving’s work is its psychedelic notes. These aspects augment the mystical nature of Black Bolt’s universe, rendering it as a living entity. With this, the colors throughout the issue never derive from the same palette. As a result, this work features various tonal shifts that parallel the state of Black Bolt’s mind.

This is a brilliant element of the issue, as Black Bolt’s stream of consciousness constantly changes states. Also, the eclectic imagery augments the emphasis on the volatility of the mind as well as the surrealist nature of the characters’ dreams.

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It is also worth noting that the characters themselves will seemingly blend in with their backgrounds. Though this would seem odd in other works, in this particular series it highlights its vibrant nature. Our characters engage in their universe. Because of this, the vividness of each and every panel transfixes us as readers.

Beyond Attilan

The conclusion of BLACK BOLT #7 depicts Black Bolt’s return to Attilan. However, despite the fact that he is now home, there will inevitably be new forces he must fight in order to find peace. Now, with a ward to protect by his side, it will be interesting to see how his motivations change. Considering how this issue and the issues before have been executed, I have no doubt we are in store for another masterpiece.

BLACK BOLT #7 by Saladin Ahmed and Frazer Irving
Art 10
Characterization 9.5
Plot 9
Led by some robust characterization and incredible artwork, BLACK BOLT #7 is another impeccable entry in Saladin Ahmed's series.
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