Image Comics should adopt a tagline that reads, “Can’t stop, won’t stop,” because they, in fact, cannot stop, nor will they stop bringing us stories, both old and new, told to us in unique and complex ways. Wow! That sentence was complex - almost as complex as Blackbird #1. This brand new tale starts with a literal bang and ends in the frightening, post-glow, neon-bathed light of a Nicolas Winding Refn film.
Nina, our protagonist, is using drugs, alcohol, and an unhealthy obsession with wizards to cope with incredible loss. She lives with the knowledge of having seen another world (full of paragons) that no one else can seem to remember. This concept reminded me of an adult version of Where the Wild Things Are, only if Max was a suicidal drunk. She is compelling, relatable, and melancholy. Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel have designed their anti-hero with all of the existential promise you might recognize from any number of Magic: The Gathering-loving hoodie-wearers in any comic book shop of any major city.
The art is clean and simple. Jen Bartel is a Marvel Comics alum with a penchant for neon-blasting laser monsters; however, her panels never feel cramped. All of the chaos is carefully contained within the parameters set forth by the conventional standards of comic book art. That is to say, it’s basic, which is great because the story is shaping up to be rather complicated.
There is not enough information in this issue to even kind of predict where this story is going. We need to know more, but I am intrigued, which is more than I can say for most things. So, in that way, Blackbird #1 is a success. Oh, and in the way of neon. Lots and lots of neon.
Creative Team: Sam Humphries (writer), Jen Bartel (art)
Publisher: Image Comics
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