Welcome to the school of Blackwood, where possibly gifted, socially awkward 20-somethings come to find out if they have what it takes to fight against the dark arts. The fact that the students don’t know that’s what they’re there for at first is all part of the fun in this four-issue, Lovecraftian, Miskatonic-style, Harry Potter world. The dean of the school ends up dead, pulled into a well and pulsating with dark magic, and our four students are there to witness it. Everything falls into chaos as they try to solve the mystery and stop a curse, all while staying alive against a malevolent force.
After reading issue three of Blackwood, I had mixed feelings heading into issue four. In my mind, there was simply too much going on to conclude a four-issue series. The antagonist was only properly introduced at the end of the third issue, so much about the main characters hadn’t been touched upon, and there were too many elements being juggled. It wasn’t that the issue was bad; it was a great deal of fun. Issue four does a smash-up job of tying the threads that need to be tied and leaving the rest unresolved in a way that makes it feel like this four-issue arc was a highly enjoyable, high-stakes way to lay the groundwork for more stories to come. I hope that’s the case.
While we didn’t get to know the characters as much as I’d have liked, the character designs and personalities were really sharply conceived, and I’d come back to find out more about them in a heartbeat. Ultimately, the central storyline Dorkin and Fish conclude in the fourth issue is one of heartbreak and tragedy that leaves our heroes in a state of disillusionment, stuck and uncertain of how to progress forward from there. It’s really quite good. This darkly conceived, brightly colored world of mystery is well worth the read, even if it doesn’t continue into more story arcs. Considering that Evan Dorkin created the wonderful Beasts of Burden series, I can only imagine that this one will continue…
Creative Team: Evan Dorkin (writer), Veronica Fish (art), Andy Fish (layouts and letterer), Daniel Chabon (editor), Brett Israel (assistant editor), Mike Richardson (publisher), Sarah Terry (designer), Josie Christensen (digital art technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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