Writer: Ivan Brandon, Jason Latour / Artist: Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson/ Image Comics
The first words on the actual first page for this comic read “The Future will always be dark”. Wonderful. I’m intrigued. Here’s the beginning of a story that I believe won’t be a feel-good piece, something sugarcoated — I’m not here for fluff. Give me the grit and the epic world building and the unforgettable characters, and at this point in the game as a fan of several Image Comics titles, I’m okay with this. Black Cloud feeds us the significance of stories, of how important a story is: in our realm they capture our attention, they make up the newsfeeds, the television lineups and our conversations. Yet in another realm, they are a big deal, they consume at will… stories function as some kind of creature all together: they can become so massive that they become worlds of their own.
Our protagonist Zelda is from one or possibly more of these worlds — she ain’t from here. Her blending in is successful enough and we see her serving as a sort of guide. Less of a time traveler but more a businesswoman with frequent flyer miles through folks’ dreams. It’s interesting to see how others react to her and react to her presence, hinting that she’s someone almost revered in a way. Whatever, or whoever, she’s a force to be reckoned. It’s not lost on me that she’s a Black woman who, at least in our world, is shunned, ignored, and not thought of, as much as her true identity is not known to the public.
This first issue also introduces some strong visuals that grace the page from the mundane of our world to the fantastic happenings of the “other”. It is complimented with a coloring job that pops pages and panels alike and even dazzles between scenes that call for vibrant color in a sea of monochrome. This issue is pretty. Gorgeous, even. Visually, it’s a treat.
I’m not completely won over by this issue but this doesn’t mean that I won’t give issue #2 a chance and see where this rabbit hole starts to lead. While it all hasn’t meshed together for me this soon, as it is only issue number one I can appreciate that the story itself interweaves layers of worlds, of character motivations, of …stories. There’s a lot going on here and I figure I’ll be here to see how more of Zelda’s plans pan out and what troubles she’s running from whenever whoever or whatever makes its appearance.