Black Bolt #3
Written by Saladin Ahmed
Art and Cover by Christian Ward
Black Bolt’s latest crucible has him mistaken and switched yet again with his mad brother Maximus and placed inside a mysterious secret cosmic prison, meant for the worst criminals in space. Here, in this weird place, he has been stripped of his powers and tortured for his supposed crimes, which are meant to be his brother’s, but you wonder if he subconsciously expects it from the aftermath of the events he triggered in Death of X. If his torture ends in his death, he is resurrected and forced to endure it again and again. Understanding little of this prison, he becomes quick allies with fellow inmates Absorbing Man, Rava, Metal Master and Blinky and is determined to break free and end this prison’s operation.
What You Need to Know: The Inhuman Royal family has been in rough shape since the Death of X and frankly, never seemed to fit on Earth. Now, with the Royal family splintered, things are finally getting interesting. His wife and other royals are off in space, attempting to find a solution to the loss of Terrigen while Karnak and Crystal are on Earth either dealing with Hydra or NuHuman assimilation into Inhuman culture. Black Bolt, tricked into taking his brother’s place has found himself imprisoned in a secretive outerspace prison and must escape to reunite with his wife and culture and figure out his place in life, now that he has lost his crown.
What You’ll Find Out: Saladin Ahmed does a fantastic job taking the Silent King and making him interesting and multifaceted. Despite the fact that Black Bolt is a silent type, used to the burden of not being able to speak freely, Saladin establishes his writing skill by taking him and keeping them not only engaged but wanting more. Normally, inner monologue characters can lead to a boring story with rough pacing, but Saladin balances this well with the odd “Inception”-styled prison, which seems to take on a life of it’s own, as if it’s an organism in itself and Black Bolt is an invading infection, reacting to his presence. Christian Ward is perfectly paired with Ahmed by balancing the quirky and unique writing style with equally strong art. His character profiles tend to blend into the surroundings of the prison, making them seem dwarfed by the structure, adding weight to the importance and frightening unknown factor of this prison Black Bolt and his peers are trapped in.
As Black Bolt gains allies, we learn more and more about the prison, but with learning more, the mystery only deepens. The prison is run by a mysterious jailer, and as they go to confront the jailer, they realize that this warden is wholly unhuman, feeding off their torture and resurrections.
What Just Happened? Black Bolt and his team break into the Jailer’s dwellings, discovering that the jailer isn’t remotely human or even alien, but something much more sinister. Black Bolt learns through his allies and observations that things are not as black and white as he once thought and this prison, which was a secret even to his people, has been turned from a prison for criminals to a torture palace for the higgest price and it must be stopped. But how?
Final Thoughts: This title reads