Beware; spoilers for BLACK BOLT #8 abound!

Previously in BLACK BOLT, our titular hero escaped an alien prison led by a ruthless villain known as The Jailer. As he made his escape, Black Bolt rescued a child with special abilities named Blinky. So, the conclusion of Black Bolt’s previous adventure resulted in his successful arrival to Earth. He is optimistic about his return, but he is not aware of how much has changed since his departure. As a result, BLACK BOLT #8 explores the Inhuman’s return to Earth and the many conflicts that await him.

black bolt #8
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

There’s No Place Like Earth

BLACK BOLT #8 begins with the King of the Inhumans making his descent to Earth. He is accompanied by Lockjaw and Blinky, with the latter expressing much enthusiasm about the journey. She decides to use her inner eye, a representation of her telepathic powers, to get a peek at what Earth is like. At first, she is impressed by the planet’s vastness. However, upon closer inspection, she expresses fear towards the number of evil forces on Earth.

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When Black Bolt and his crew finally arrive, their homecoming is met with ill will. The Inhumans and citizens of New Attilan actually believe Black Bolt to be Maximus in disguise. They even interpret Blinky to be an elaborate trap! Eventually, though, they come to believe Black Bolt is who he says he is.

However, the New Attilans continue to express hostility. They feel as though Black Bolt abandoned them during the events of SECRET EMPIRE. In response to this, Black Bolt expresses guilt. He has experienced much trauma throughout his solo run. So, he is still learning how to come to terms with his anguish.

Home is Where the Heart Is

This struggle within Black Bolt is my favorite aspect of BLACK BOLT #8. Saladin Ahmed’s writing is so eloquent and never fails to impress. With this, he addresses Black Bolt’s inner conflicts in a poignant way. After healing Lockjaw’s physical wounds, an Inhuman known as Panacea tries to heal Black Bolt’s emotional wounds. Unfortunately, Black Bolt turns Panacea away, seemingly out of a fear of exposing his vulnerable state.

This issue makes an effort to emphasize Black Bolt’s relationship with Blinky. She is the medium of communication between him and the rest of the world. As a result, she truly understands him. She has access to his vulnerability and is slowly alleviating him of his pain. This is apparent in the sequence where Black Bolt’s son, Ahura, expresses resentment towards his father and even turns away from his father’s embrace.

After Ahura turns away, Black Bolt immediately reaches out to Blinky. This is a brief moment, but it encapsulates the primary motifs of healing and vulnerability within this issue. Black Bolt is a king, and he is a superhero. However, his recent battles have affected him in ways he is struggling to understand. He actually may not want to understand or even acknowledge these struggles. However, his relationship with Blinky seems to help him feel more comfortable with confronting himself.

black bolt #8
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Many Hues of BLACK BOLT #8

In regard to BLACK BOLT #8’s artwork, the cover by Christian Ward is absolutely astonishing. I love the way he juxtaposes Black Bolt’s vulnerability with the cosmic background. This vulnerability is a significant motif in this issue, so I love how the art parallels that. Additionally, Clayton Cowles’ lettering perfectly parallels the mystical, and at times psychedelic, nature of this work’s imagery. Of course, this is not the first time an entry in the BLACK BOLT series has maintained such cohesion in its artwork. The series thus far has featured impeccable imagery that meticulously ties in with Ahmed’s story.

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Once again, a stand-out aspect of the art is Ward’s color palette. It is vibrant and totally fascinating. All elements from the character designs to backgrounds maintain their own respective intricacies. As a result, every element is distinct in its own way. The coloring of these elements only augments their distinctions further due to the detail of each and every hue. With this, I enjoy the lighter tone in BLACK BOLT #8. Previous entries have depicted slightly darker hues to support the grim narrative being told. Now that Black Bolt has returned to Earth, there is a brighter sense of hope. So, once again, I love the subtleties the artists incorporate to further support the story and characterization of Black Bolt.

What Lies Beyond

With our titular hero’s return to Earth, the game has changed. Now, he must face the consequences of SECRET EMPIRE. Also, Black Bolt must confront those who resent him, including his own son. I believe future issues in this series will dig deeper into Black Bolt’s psyche. Ultimately, in order for him to confront these new challenges, Black Bolt must confront the challenges within himself.

BLACK BOLT #8 by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, & Clayton Cowles
Art 9.8
Characterization 9.5
Plot 9.5
BLACK BOLT #8 is another compelling issue in the series that doesn't hold back in touching on the inner struggles of its titular hero.
Another home run
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  1. Micah Williams

    December 7, 2017 at 12:54 am

    My only hope for this series is black bolt facing consequences for Infinity, IvX and Secret Empire. Please, just grant me this kindness Saladin.


  2. A Cadaver

    A Cadaver

    December 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    @saladinahmed Tempted to try and pick up the back issues of this


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