This week Marvel Comics debuts the first solo series for the former ruler of the Inhumans in BLACK BOLT #1 by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward. After the events of Inhumans vs X-men Black Bolt and Medusa sought to imprison his brother Maximus in a prison he could never escape, one known only to the royal family. It would seem that via an image inducer Maximus switched places with his brother and now Black Bolt is held in that prison… a prison that has rendered his mighty power useless.
Ahmed was faced with a difficult task, how do you write a solo book about a character than never speaks? Well, you get creative and place him in a prison of his own design that removes all the terrible power from his voice. This new series will see Black Bolt tested in a way he never has before and that should make for some good storytelling. The tale of the imprisoned hero wrongly placed in jail is a bit cliched on the surface but it makes for a good mystery in which the readers learn what is going on and who the mysterious jailer is along with the protagonist. The only downside is that without knowledge of who Black Bolt is, how his powers work, and the events of IvX this book becomes a little impenetrable. There is a brief attempt to bring new readers up to speed but I fear the lack of background might turn off newcomers.
The art by Christian Ward is dark and brooding, and appropriately so. There is some very cool use of colors against the black to highlight Black Bolt’s restraints and visions of torture and pain. The character designs are simple and not overly designed which is nice. BlackBolt has an iconic look and there is no need to change it or turn it into fancy armor with lines all over it, look at you here New52 Flash. This is a solid title but not one that really blew me away. I do think it is worth checking out for the prison story arc alone just to find out what exactly happened to him, how his great power was lost, and who this mysterious jailer is.