REVIEW: Black Bolt #12

BLACK BOLT #12 / Writer: Saladin Ahmed / Artist: Christian Ward / Letterer : Clayton Cowles / Marvel Comics / April 4th 2018

It’s with teary eyes and a heavy heart that I write this review for the final issue of Black Bolt. Over the past year, this book has been nothing short of excellent; it is my favorite comic book series from Marvel, despite being overlooked by so many. Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward have used the series to bring us a deep character study of Blackagar Boltagon, and this issue puts a bow on the book that will move you to your core. In Black Bolt #12, we follow Blinky and Ahura Boltagon inside Black Bolt’s nightmare, while he’s engaged in his final showdown against the Jailer.

As I mentioned, this entire series has been a deep dive into the psyche of the ex-king of the Inhumans. Saladin Ahmed crafts such an intricate tale that it keeps me coming back month in and month out, or it did. This series attempts to relay the struggles and regrets of Black Bolt, furthering our understanding of him with each issue. This final issue is no different, showing us how damaged Blackagar has been since childhood. Over twelve issues, Ahmed has made me care about this character on a level that is so sincere that this issue’s end couldn’t be any more satisfying. I highly recommend any reader of fiction to pick up this series because it is an instant classic. The final issue brings back every theme explored since the start, giving us a complete ending that is also heartfelt. After all the hardship Black Bolt endures, the way Ahmed concludes his saga brings a smile to my face.

The art on this book is once again a selling point. Christian Ward is one of the most underrated artists working for Marvel. I would classify his work on Black Bolt as Jack Kirby on steroids. Everything he draws is crazy, weird, and psychedelic, and it works so well for the style of story that Black Bolt is. The tone of this book, mixed with Ward’s art,  makes Black Bolt nothing short of a masterpiece.

One of the strongest points of this book is the excellent characterization. Throughout the series, we see Black Bolt having to deal with the fact he lost everything. Because of this, we see him struggling and finding appreciation for things he used to take for granted. We see a man rebuilding himself through friendships with people who live very different lives then he does. Seeing these characters find solace in each other, through shared traumatic experiences and less than favorable childhoods, is a smart and emotionally charged journey that deserves endless praise.

The most important characterization of all, in my book, is Crusher Creel. Ahmed brings such depth to the character that it will change the classic villain’s status quo for the foreseeable future. We see a new side to a man who used to be a two-dimensional bad guy. My hopes are that future writers keep this development in mind when using this character, because the Absorbing Man isn’t this cardboard cutout villain anymore; he seems like more of a good guy than bad at this point. Disregarding this change would be a disservice to the future stories he could be part of. Also, let’s not forget Blinky, who is a standout character in this series. Fun and attaching would be the best words to describe this character, but she also wields extreme levels of power. I’m intrigued to see if we’ll see her in future Marvel stories; only time will tell.

To conclude, every issue of this series is worth a read. Black Bolt #12 is a perfect wrap-up  that opens the door for many amazing adventures to come, for each of the characters explored over the past year.  It is heartwarming and continues to play on the strengths that make this book so great. It is only through a combination of storytelling prowess and over the top insane art pieces that you get a masterpiece like Black Bolt. Thank you to the entire creative team for bringing such an enjoyable and intelligent book into my life for the past year. Hopefully, we will have the treat to see this creative team assemble again for a future crazy space adventures.

Verdict: 5 out of 5 Teleporting Dogs

Vincent is Canadian and a raving Cyclops apologist and a lover of all things geek Marvel and Star Wars are his specialty. He is well versed in DC, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. He's always wanted to be a writer and Do You Even Comic Book? is his first foray into that adventure.

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