Writer: Sam Humphries / Artist: Jen Bartel, Paul Reinwand / Image Comics
Blackbird has always thrived when Humphries leans heavily into the magical overtones of the series. The dichotomy of the “standard” LA lifestyle juxtaposed with the “Paragon” was a good hook into the series, but between the Cabals vying for control and Nina’s budding powers, Blackbird wants to be a pure urban fantasy and my god does it look beautiful when the proverbial wings get to stretch.
The visual team deserves a lot of props. Between Bartel’s beautiful artwork, Reinwand’s layouts, Farrell’s colors, and Wynne’s lettering, Blackbird has a unique look and feel that pops off the page. The opening page is a wonderful example of how the different elements blend together to create a tour de force of artistic impact. The illustration alone is strong enough to tell the story, but Humphries manages to give it a little more snark and character.
Nina isn’t exactly the most likable protagonist, but her determination in finding the truth and resultant frustration when discovering that there are several levels of deception make her a compelling one to follow. Her reality is constantly challenged and seeing her react and take charge makes for a dynamic story. It also helps that she is constantly confronted by a diverse supporting cast that brings out different dimensions to her behavior, when it naturally defaults to caustic. It also helps that the final few pages are some of the finest crafted of the series to date.
But before you get to the denouement, you are treated to marvelous magic and jaw dropping set pieces. You are bombarded with eye candy and a carefully constructed narrative that makes you invested in what happens next. If the momentum can continue to carry to the final issue of the arc, Blackbird will demand a spot on your shelves very soon.
9.3 “Curses” out of 10
Reading Blackbird? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.