Sometimes, it’s the comics that nobody expects that surprises you. When ResurrXion was announced, most fans were excited about the brand new X-line, X-Men: Gold and X-Men: Blue, Jean Grey and Generation X and Iceman. Hell, I’m still excited about it. But when I saw the announcement of the first solo series for Black Bolt, former king of the Inhumans, I didn’t see much fanfare. Which is a damn shame, because the book isn’t just gorgeous, it’s pretty damn ingenius, too.
The book is written by science fiction and fantasy writer Saladin Ahmed, whose book Throne of the Crescent Moon was nominated for a Hugo and won a Locust Award, and illustrated by Christian Ward, who also illustrated Matt Fraction’s Ody-C. Together, they manage to paint a vivid picture of Black Bolt trapped in a hellish prison.
But why is Black Bolt trapped in this prison? Last seen, he was going out into space with the rest of the Royal Family.
Except, of course, that wasn’t him. That was Maximus, who switched places with Black Bolt and sent him to the place where Maximus was going to be sent himself.
The first issue cleverly sets up and subverts expectations, such as Black Bolt using his powers to escape. Once his muzzle is damaged and he removes it, he goes to the Jailer and says one word, “Stop.”
And nothing happens. Even as the Jailer kills him and he dies screaming, nothing happens.
And then he wakes up again. Because even death isn’t an escape from this prison.
Ahmed’s use of captions is great and the premise itself allows for an interesting exploration of the character of Black Bolt, who hasn’t really gotten much characterization over the years. Between this and Royals, the Inhumans are getting some excellent books which you should definitely be reading.