Writer: Ivan Brandon, Jason Latour / Artist: Greg Hinkle / Image Comics
It’s a trippy world on Image’s Black Cloud, a series that follows a young woman named Zelda who lives in our world, but is originally from another one literally made of stories and imagination. Zelda is something of a vagabond, a survivor type who doesn’t fit well in either world, a screw-up of sorts as we learn in this issue as a private talk with another woman from her world hints of bad decisions of Zelda’s past leaving her with a reputation of a pariah. Here, Zelda is in the middle of another potentially bad decision as she makes a deal to essentially kidnap the mayor’s son at the mayor’s request to hide the son from being an embarrassment during election season.
The plot itself is simple so far and leaves cognitive space for readers to wrap themselves in this confusing dual world; still, the world being built is complicated, which makes for a hard read up to now – a point of intrigue for the patient reader, and annoyance for the eager. We don’t know exactly how Zelda teeters between worlds, or even what the alternate world is made of and the rules that govern it, so discovering its structure along with Zelda’s past make up half the plot despite whatever crisis she finds herself in currently. Again, two issues in and one thing is for sure, Black Cloud will be for the patient reader.
What keeps you reading for now is not a strong conflict (still developing) or magnetic protagonist (we barely know her), but rather the potential of a rich world, cleverly built, in which all the other pieces can operate. Once the world is built, it’s expected the conflict and character development can not only catch up, but reach new heights in its creative space. And that’s a high potential.
Overall, Black Cloud #2 is an alluring entry into what has the potential to be a captivating world. It tries some creative things artistically in highlighting the real world against the one of imagination, especially alternating between bright colors and darker, gloomier scenes. It will continue to be a tough job to represent all the wonders of imagination, but we can look forward to seeing how it’s done as the world builds and characters develop.
Reading Black Cloud? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.