BLACKBIRD #4 by Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel
Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel both step up their creative game in BLACKBIRD #4. Humphries and Bartel both create a story that connects with the reader and will give you all the feels. Overall, BLACKBIRD #4 is another step up and creates hope for an even greater adventure in BLACKBIRD #5.
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With the wonderful combination of Sam Humphries’s storytelling and Jen Bartel’s emotional (and always colorful) art shows bliss and despair in BLACKBIRD #4. Both creatives have stepped up their game even more from BLACKBIRD #3 to create a story that makes the reader engage their own emotions and truly feel for Nina.

What’s Going on in BLACKBIRD #4?

We begin with a series of dreams Nina has of her mother. Since her mother “passed”, Nina always made it a point to hug her mother in her dreams. Now, in reality, her mother is the Great Beast and she’s back. We find out she never died, her name’s Gloria, and she came back for Marissa, not Nina. This event leads Nina to seemingly want revenge due to her and magic even though Nina’s believed in magic all her life.

We also saw at the end of the BLACKBIRD #3 Clint and Nina got close to kissing each other. In this issue, Gloria calls Clint out on wanting to get in Nina’s pants which seems to somewhat change Nina’s outlook on Clint. But why? After all, Gloria leaves Nina behind. All Nina has now is him and her cat Sharpie. Since Clint has to watch Nina 24/7, she should turn to Clint. Honestly, Clint might not be such a shallow dude. Of course we don’t know enough about him to truly make that conclusion. Will Nina and Clint have a fulfilling relationship and work together or will what Gloria assumes about Clint remain in Nina’s thoughts? Who knows, we’ll just have to see.

Hardcore Emotional Scenes and Storytelling in BLACKBIRD #4

Sam Humphries made the most emotional story so far in the BLACKBIRD series. The feeling Nina experiences of being unwanted by her own mother hits home for this reader and possibly many more. Understanding the reality that you are unwanted by your mother can be expressed with many words, plenty of actions, or just leave you lost. Nina expresses her distraught feelings by digging up her mothers grave, contemplating using her pills again, and expressing herself with angry words and some powerful magic. Humphries does well to tell Nina’s complex emotional crisis with a healthy balance of what would happen in reality and what would happen in a fantasy world.

Image courtesy of Image Comics.

This reader has a mix of emotions after reading BLACKBIRD #4. There was a sense of empowerment, yet there were reminders of my own experience of being the unwanted child. This isn’t a bad thing, storytelling that relates to a reader is the best kind of storytelling. Humphries brought his emotional “A” game in BLACKBIRD #4.

Feelings Not Only Told But Shown in BLACKBIRD #4

With the level of storytelling brought to the table comes art by Jen Bartel that matches the high caliber of writing by Sam Humphries. The raw level of emotion connects with the reader. When you see the tears flowing paired with the words that strike deep within your soul, you just might want to cry, too. Once Nina shows her stern, angry, and empowered face, you want to cheer her on like she’s your best girlfriend that needs your support. Overall, Nina’s expressions make you feel something in yourself, and that’s what art should do.

BLACKBIRD #4 page 22. Image courtesy of Image Comics.

What Might Come Next in BLACKBIRD #5?

There’s no telling where we’ll go next in the plot for BLACKBIRD #5. We’re left with Nina being angry enough to declare war against her mother due to feeling unwanted. Maybe we’ll learn more about Gloria’s side of the story. Speaking of, what about Marisa? Why the heck would Gloria come back for her if she didn’t even believe in magic in the first place? All this and more will come soon in the BLACKBIRD series.

Experience the intensity and magic in BLACKBIRD #5 coming to you in February!

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