Writer: Ivan Brandon, Jason Latour / Artist: Greg Hinkle / Image Comics
The difficulty of Black Cloud is finding enough to hold onto while you put together the pieces of the story. It can be overcome, for sure, whether it be through witty dialogue or short-term crises that hold your attention on the plight straight ahead while offering you bits of information that inform the larger, more confusing story; books like Image’s Paper Girls do an amazing job at keeping you interested despite your understandable confusion. Black Cloud #4 offers a little to clear the fog of Zelda’s life and story, but at this point in the story, little is officially no longer enough. With added characters to offset any sense of grasp you might have gained on its plot, Black Cloud feels more invested in its creativity – at which it excels – to the detriment of clarity.
We can tell a few things for certain though. Zelda is clearly more powerful than she seemed originally; she is also scorned by most for his past; and her hero’s journey is one of redemption as she wants to set things right. Outside of that, the details are obscured by teleports and time jumps, new characters, new strange lifeforms and new strange places. It’s enough to frustrate because you likely have the sense that once you have a firmer grasp on what’s going on here there’s a gem of a story in your hands. And more, who doesn’t love a redemption story? In the meantime, though, there are a few minor yet intense fight scenes that keep readers turning pages.
Overall, Black Cloud #4 does not bring the clarity you would want at this point of the story, and while its pacing keeps us occupied with Zelda’s battles with those who mistrust her, it is on the verge of burning what patience you might have left as a reader. Which would be a shame, as Zelda is the type of character you want nothing more than to cheer for, and this world – in all its creativity and confusion – may be a great one if we can only understand it better.
Reading Black Cloud? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.