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review 2017-08-12 22:48
Still amazing
Black Bolt (2017-) #4 - Saladin Ahmed,Christian Ward

I never thought that a conversation between Black Bolt and The Absorbing Man (aka Crusher Creel) would take up a whole comic.   I would have laughed at you if you told me it was one of the most poignant, thoughtful comics you've read.  

 

But it was.   

 

It was about family, about life, about what it meant to fight to live even when you were doomed.   It was full of heartache and hope, an understanding between two vastly different people who wouldn't have bonded if they weren't quite literally chained together.     With a limited amount of oxygen, meant to suffocate them eventually.  I think the knowing you're going to die and not being able to stop it was the cruelest thing about this storyline.

 

The facial expressions brought their conversation to life.   Spot on, as heartwarming and heartbreaking as the conversations themselves were.   Between this and Once and Future Kings, I'm also shipping Black Bolt and Medusa hard right now.   Medusa may be more prominent - more active - in the one issue we have of the mini-series than in four issues of Black Bolt, but she's definitely a presence.   Always with Black Bolt, even if only in his thoughts, he admits she was a better ruler than he, all openness and no bitterness.   She was, and I think she inspires him to be better even now.   (When she stripped him of his title of king, and of the right to her, he simply bowed his head and left: he might not think himself the ruler Medusa is, but he also never coerced her into anything.   He accepted her wishes, and I think he gets a bad wrap.   He had to make a lot of bad choices to stop worse things from happening, in a very short amount of time.   He also didn't let Medusa in on anything, and I think his secretiveness - protecting her, most likely - was also his greatest weakness.   If he truly believes her to be the better ruler, perhaps she could have stayed his hand and come up with something better for everyone with him.)

 

But this is a lot of Crusher.   Who Crusher was as a child, what made him become the way he was.   It's a lot about not dying quietly.   It's about what forms you, and how that comes into play later in life.   It's about the choices you make. 

 

It's about life.   

 

Although I question that ending.   Clearly things were going to happen as they did.   A word or two and things could have changed for Crusher.   I suspect surprise kept Black Bolt talking the way he did, but I'm shocked that after that talk fest, he didn't think of Crusher's safety sooner. 

 

Also, I'm trying to remember where I saw a certain character last.   I have to go back and look that up, now...

 

 

 

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review 2017-08-12 22:28
YAAAAASSSSS!
Inhumans: Once And Future Kings (2017) #1 (of 5) - Christopher Priest,Ryan North,Phil Noto,Gustavo Duarte,Nick Bradshaw

I just can't even tell you how happy I am about this title.   I'm five-starring it despite the retcon, by the way.   It's a pretty big plot-hole/retcon.   See, Maximus Boltagon's sanity was destroyed when Black Bolt (aka Blackagar Boltagon) used his voice to stop some Kree enemies, and he accidentally killed some Attilan muckety-mucks - including his parents.   (And Maximus' parents, which probably didn't help him going mad there.)

 

In this, Maximus seems pretty sane, but their parents are dead.   Now maybe I'm wrong.   Maybe this will show that he isn't quite sane, but no one's realized yet, but I doubt it because they talk about his genius powers - powers that were supposedly stunted after the death of the Boltagon parents.   So far this is either a pretty massive plothole or a retcon.   I'm okay calling it a retcon and just accepting that, mostly because this story is amazing.   The writing is fun, the characterizations are not only solid but move these characters - as children - forward in a way that makes sense with their adult counterparts, and there's plenty of action, although some of is political maneuvering.   (Some of it is not; some of it is some pretty old school comic fights, which I love.)

 

Top it off with Phil Noto as an artist, and I'm all in.   Young Black Bolt, young Maximus, young Medusa, young Lockjaw?    Aw, yeah.  I do hope they get in the other royals - we see a bit of Crystal, but just in the background, but I want to see what young Triton, Karnak and Gorgon look like.   I want to see them, to have them interact, although I doubt they will. 

 

As far as plot, someone is using the Alphas, the created race that work as the Inhumans' slaves in Attilan.   Someone wants The Living Terrigenesis, the ruler until Black Bolt comes into his own power and matures enough to be king, dead.   He seems to be working for his own good rather than the good of the young royals, or of Attilan, much less for the good of the general population in Attilan.  

 

Someone is determined to kill him, and to see Black Bolt and Maximus safe - but who?   Maybe it's just me being paranoid, but I'm not sure I trust him as much as I think I'm supposed to in this issue.    Maybe it's because I know the Living Terrigenesis will become The Unspoken, so reviled that his name is stricken from memory.   Elisha is working against The Unspoken, true, but that doesn't mean he's truly got the best in mind for Black Bolt and Maximus.   And the ending makes it clear that the two young boys are in over their head, and stranded in a place they know very little about - a place Elisha describes as Wonderland to them.   

 

If Elisha should abandon them, they might not be as able to fend for themselves as they undoubtedly think they are.   

 

Meanwhile, Medusa has been mentioned to The Unspoken by Maximus.   He's trying to coerce her into becoming his wife, and she's angry at both boys.   While she cuts them with her sharp tongue, and holds them aloft with her glorious, living, weaponized hair, she's also drawn into the danger her future husband and his brother find themselves in now.   

 

Still, this is a gorgeously lush comic, full of intrigue.  It gives a little background to Medusa, and it makes it more clear why Black Bolt holds her so dear.   She rebels against all injustice, even when she knows it can undo her and her family: it's still unjust.   And while everyone is willing to keep their head down, Medusa is not.   

 

I'm sad this is only a five issue mini-series, while I'm also thrilled it exists at all.   Still, I would buy this on a monthly basis for years.   

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review 2017-07-13 01:43
Still one of the most beautiful comics being produced
Black Bolt (2017-) #3 - Saladin Ahmed,Christian Ward

And I'm not just talking about the lush art that is full of color and movement.   No, no, no.   The writing is just as lush, just as full.   It makes Black Bolt relatable, and although I thought this would make him less intriguing - there's something about him being impenetrable, so much higher than everyone else, so removed in so many ways that drew me to him as a character - it does the opposite.   It makes his tragedies - his awesome power that keeps him removed from everyone in so many ways, and his responsibilities that do the same - more tragic.   

 

It makes the decisions he has to make harder, and it makes me like him more.   

 

The plans are finally revealed, even as it's revealed why this group of prisoners need Black Bolt.   He also finally truly sees the consequences of his hard decisions, from the point of view of someone who's living those consequences.   It's poetic in a way that stripping him of his crown and his title and his wife, and family, wasn't, and gives him pause in a way those didn't.   Then?  He was still confident that what he'd done was right, and stood tall even if he wasn't exactly proud of his actions. 

 

Now, though?   This is showing him what willful blindness really brings, and it's horrifying on a level that makes even him squirm.   I thought that seeing Black Bolt second guess the terrible decisions he had to make - or that he felt he had to make - to try and save as many of his people as he could, to try and protect them the best he could would make me like him less.   In a less talented author's hands, this storyline would make me like him less.   Instead, Ahmed is doing everything I didn't ever want to see in a Black Bolt series, and his talent is forcing me to admit I was wrong.  I wanted it.  I just was afraid the writer Marvel picked wouldn't be up to the task. 

 

This author is, and he's not only got the skill, but he's reveling in this storyline.  He's gleefully dissecting Black Bolt, what makes - or made - him, and I'm loving every single second as Black Bolt becomes more aware of what the true cost of his responsibilities were, and are.   Even when these revelations are painfully obvious - Black Bolt says as much to the readers - there's so much more going on, writing wise, art wise, that it's impossible that I won't glean more on my second reading. 

 

I'll reread when I have the time, although given my soon-to-be hectic schedule, that may not be for a while.   Certainly not as soon as I'd hope for! 

 

 

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review 2017-07-01 23:34
Avengers and Inhumans versus Ultron
Marvel Universe Avengers: Ultron Revolution (2016-2017) #10 - Joe Caramagna,Various

And I kind of love this.   I know it's weird, but I just absolutely love seeing Black Bolt imprisoned, or locked, and chained up.   I don't know what it is.   The whole muzzling him, or trying to force him to use his voice?   Yup, I guess it's just my hurt/comfort kink getting it's jam on.   I don't think that completely explains it; I don't like it for certain characters, I like it for Black Bolt - and others - though. 

 

Anyway, this was super, super exciting for me, particularly since I have a thing for Ultron, I love me some Black Bolt, and Ultron locks Black Bolt up and tries to force him to use his voice. 

 

So, yay for that convergence of things I like.

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review 2017-07-01 23:28
Avengers and Inhumans
Marvel Universe Avengers: Ultron Revolution (2016-2017) #9 - Joe Caramagna,Various

When Terrigen Mist is let into the world, the Inhumans come to find that there's a cocoon.   They're as surprised as the Avengers, but also determined to claim the cocoon and the Inhuman inside.   (They want to help the Nuhuman through their transition.)

 

In this continuity - I believe the new cartoon continuity - the Inhumans believe that all their descendants are in Attilan.   I love the interaction between the two teams, despite the fact that there could have been more nuance in this story in general.   (I wish companies, like Marvel, would accept that children's stories doesn't translate to dumbing things down.)

 

Still, seeing the royal family was nice, and the Nuhuman was a nice bonus: I was aware of him from other Marvel titles, and I think working him in as an ambassador for Attilan and the Inhumans who lives outside of Attilan - he wanted to stay with his home, family and friends - is a nice way to get the royal family involved again should Marvel choose to in the future.

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