BLACKBIRD #3 by Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, and Triona Farrell
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Nina has been put through the ringer. Between being attacked, saved by Clint, then having the worlds biggest bomb drop on her, Nina is going through it. BLACKBIRD #3 shows the advanced storytelling of writer Sam Humphries. The writing is paired perfectly with Jen Bartel's beautiful art, which is paired with brilliantly colors by Triona Farrell.
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The magic, splendor, and surprise continues in BLACKBIRD #3. Nina experiences so much action in the present and while dwelling on her mother’s death. We explore how writer Sam Humphries makes the story and character development addictive. Plus, we take an awe-inspired look at the combined effort of artist Jen Bartel and colorist Triona Farrell in BLACKBIRD #3.

So Much Evolves in BLACKBIRD #3

We begin with a flashback of Nina and her sister Marisa on the tragic day of their mother’s passing. Nina wishes she could’ve just taken her math test and continued to live a normal life. Nina runs through everything her mother missed; failing school, turning her life around and graduating early, her dad losing his mind, Marisa moving out and leaving her behind, her needing three jobs to survive, and her boyfriend cheating on her.

In the midst of Nina’s story, Adrian, Queen of the Damned, attacks Nina with a magic knife. However, with Clint by Nina’s side, Adrian realizes she’s outmatched and manages to escape. The event leaves Nina exhausted and she passes out at the gas station. She wakes up with Clint watching over her and learns more about the blue lion that has kidnapped Marisa. Nina, with renewed determination, goes after the Great Beast. Before leaving, however, she realizes she’s in a beautiful place filled with Paragons and Cabal. She proves to Clint her knowledge of the various types of Cabal. Their time is cut short when Adrian and her sisters arrive at the scene. Nina and Clint flee in an attempt to escape Adrian. She and Clint fly to Hollywoodland in search of the beast, where he speaks genuinely to her and the two almost kiss. However, they’re interrupted by an unexpected surprise.

BLACKBIRD #3
Image courtesy of Image Comics.

Loving the Characters and the Story

The characters of BLACKBIRD are intriguing and addicting. Each person has a unique story that’s leaves us itching for more. Sam Humphries does an excellent job of balancing character development with progressing the plot.

Nina is the only person in her family that believes in magic and has proven that magic is inside her. Yet characters like Clint continue to doubt that she’s even capable of magic. Besides Nina believing in magic, there are other admirable layers to Nina’s character. For example, her determination to save her sister and her ability to overcome adversity.

Now, onto our favorite paragon, Clint. He’s a bit standoffish but must protect Nina at all costs. We learn in BLACKBIRD #3 that he’s genuine yet damaged. What does he need to protect her from? What has happened to him in the past? Why is he being genuine now? Where did the feelings between Clint and Nina come from of all the sudden? These are all questions that, hopefully, future issues will explore further.

Sam Humphries gives us all of this valuable and beautiful encounters between Nina and Clint. At one moment we see their conservation as a way to build their character. For example, when Nina and Clint are in Holleywoodland, Nina sees the essence of his spirit. This is when Nina sees the real Clint. Then the next moment Nina and Clint encounter a surprise that is a turning point for the plot. This balance between plot and character development is perfectly managed by Humphries throughout the comic.

A First Person Perspective on BLACKBIRD #3

BLACKBIRD is such an enjoyable and beautifully comic. I’m a huge fan of this series so far. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. I love how the lead character are people of color. This speaks loud and proud for those who’ve been craving more diversity in their comic reading. She proves she is a powerful woman by wanting to take charge of saving Marisa, using her physical, emotional, and magical strength, and how she doesn’t take shit from Clint. To me, this shapes a story that is a must read.

The Greatest Illustrated Comic of All Time

Every issues of BLACKBIRD is beautiful, and BLACKBIRD #3 is just as visually perfect. Jen Bartel draws some gorgeous characters. From every line to every expression, you can tell how much care Bartel puts into her work. Bartel plants very intricate and well planned details in each panel. For example, on Adrian’s dragon, there are a ton of stars that not only shine, but add to the 3-D effect Bartel’s work.

Besides the strategic and carefully articulated art of Jen Bartel, Triona Farrell’s colors seems to work in complete union with Bartel’s art. Farrell’s use of colors throughout this story are no less than illuminating, and of course, magical. It’s so hard to just pick one or two panels that stand out because everything is a masterpiece. The reader is always greeted with a vibrant spread and is awe-inspired throughout BLACKBIRD #3. No comic in my reading history has ever had it’s art stand out as much as BLACKBIRD.

BLACKBIRD #3
Image courtesy of Image Comics.

Some Final Questions and Hopes for BLACKBIRD #4

After soaking in all the beauty in BLACKBIRD #3’s storytelling and illustrations, there are a few minor questions that need to be answered. Like who is Nina’s cat, Sharpie? Obviously he’s magic, but something tells me he’s like Clint; a shape-shifting Paragon. What is the “Blackbird?” What is its significance? It’d be nice to read more about these topics and get a lot of questions answered.

Stay tuned for BLACKBIRD #4 coming to you in 2019!

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