Black Cloud #1

Zelda was born in a world of dreams, and hers burned bigger than anyone had ever seen. Now she’s on the run in our world, the dreams broken in her hands. But the pieces are for sale, the rich and the powerful are buying, and suddenly her world isn’t the only place Zelda’s running from. From the creators that brought you Spider-Gwen, SOUTHERN BASTARDS, and DRIFTER, and the incredible colorist of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, comes a place where dreams come true–and today, they go to war.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Black Cloud. The story fumbles for purchase, and it took a long time to figure out its main point. Ultimately I have to ask myself: are its ideas interesting enough to make up for its annoyances?

The art’s polished, with sketchy, angular linework; the colors are terrific, if a bit loud at times. There were some issues with panel transitions, but on the whole the art is effective at conveying scenes.

The writing, on the other hand…

It’s definitely an Image Comic, which is both a good and a bad thing: Good because quality is absolutely guaranteed – every Image title is visually interesting and diverse, and they’re at no loss for ideas. At the same time, they have a tendency to build a very conventional (almost bland) story around a single wild idea; like many one-season TV shows, they confuse “original premise” and “interesting plot”. There’s also this rock-tumbler effect with the writing, in which it’s obviously been through the editing phase so many times, all the edges are polished off. The characters end up all sounding the same, and each panel’s dialogue sits there like a shiny pebble, unwilling to connect with the next panel.

I found something particularly “off” about Black Cloud’s writing, and what’s irritating is that I can’t put my finger on it. Is it the rhythm that’s out of whack? Emphasis placed on the wrong things…or maybe there’s no emphasis at all? Reading it felt like a case of brain fog, where I could understand the words, yet I couldn’t put it all together. Things became clearer around the middle of the comic, but it took an awful long time to get to that point.

I want to like Black Cloud, but ultimately the more I re-read it to pinpoint my dislike, the more annoyed I get. I’ll give it two stars for originality and art, but I can’t recommend it.

Final Verdict: 2 out of 5.

Black Cloud #1 can be found at Image Comics

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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