Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel join forces on BLACKBIRD, a new on-going series from Image Comics that explores themes of family, mental health, and magic.
Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Jen Bartel
Layout Artist: Paul Reinwand
Colors by: Nayoung Wilson and Jen Bartel
Letters by: Jodi Wynne
Designed by: Dylan Todd
Nina Rodriguez is positive that a secret magic world ruled by ruthless cabals is hiding just beneath the veneer of Los Angeles. The problem: everyone thinks she’s crazy. The bigger problem: she’s not crazy—she’s right. Can she unravel the mystery before the Great Beast catches up with her?
Right from the start, Blackbird pulls you right into its world with an excellent setup that showcases mythology without relying on boring exposition. Sam Humphries uses the main character Nina’s voiceover to not only bond the reader with the protagonist but also introduces the concept of magic within this universe. In just a few pages, we know the ‘who’, the ‘what’, and the ‘where’ of the story. The ‘why’ is the mystery of it all and even the small glimpse of the magical captures the imagination right away.
What takes Blackbird to the next level is the care Humphries is giving to his characters. The story may be about Nina’s quest to prove that magic is real, but themes of family are all over this story, specifically sisters and the matriarchs of family. Nina’s depression and struggles to find a place for herself are extremely relatable, as is the complex relationship she has with her sister. It’s strong, great dramatic stuff.
Humphries has always had strong narrative drive and structure, and Blackbird is no different as the whole thing ends on a great cliffhanger. You will want to read the next issue.
This is one fucking gorgeous book. The linework by Jen Bartel is crisp and sleek. The layouts by Paul Reinwand create a dynamic flow, and the colors by Nayoung Wilson (with help by Bartel) bring the whole thing together, creating a total package of perfect sequential art. This book is a technicolor neon beauty that you will want to take your time with. These are pages and images you want to let sink in.
Image Comics has another mega-hit with Blackbird if this great first issue is any indication. Well written and beautifully illustrated, this is one comic you do not want to miss.