Graphic Novel Review 211/365: Black Bolt Vol 1: Hard Time

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Title: Black Bolt Vol. 1 Hard Time   

Author(s): Saladin Ahmad and Christian Ward

Publisher: Marvel (2017)

Age Rating: 13+

My students have been reading my blog reviews to help them shape their own assessment reviews, so if any of my students read this, come up to me in class and say the code word “Black Bolt,” and I’ll give you some candy.  Let’s see how many of my kids are reading these.

Here is another hero book about a hero that I did not know much about, and honestly, I still don’t.  And with that, I’ll get my criticism of the book out of the way: this first trade does not give us much of the hero and his abilities.  The first three issues (of six) have our hero trapped in a jail that strips him of his powers, leaving new readers to the series wondering what the heck is so special about this guy, and the trapped in a situation with a ragtag group troupe is getting a bit old for me as a comics reader.

By issue four, however, the story picks up, and some interesting things start happening, and I was hooked.  But even a hooked Kallenborn is not afraid to say that in six issues we do not get much about the Black Bolt.  Does Marvel assume that I know about him, or are they assuming that I’ll love this trade enough to read and discover more in issues 7+?  I do not know…

The art is cool.  Very colorful.  And the creative team of Ahmed and Ward do some interesting things with panel/page layouts.  The story has a unique villain that allows for the team to take some creative risks, and I’d say they pay off.  And I know I complained about the ragtag group at the prison, but some of those characters are interesting.  Actually, my favorite part of the trade comes in issue four when Crusher Creel gives us some story about his background.  We get more about him than the book’s title character!  I don’t know how I feel about that, but it’s an interesting decision.  Oh, and there’s a teleporting dog, so that’s cool.

Happy reading!


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