Let’s be honest, if you’re not a dog lover, Black Bolt #5 might not be as “full of feels” as it was for me. In #5 it just shows why people love their dogs too – in fact, why we love all animals in general. It was full of pretty pictures, doggos and general love – which is what all I have for this creative team (including Frazer Irving this issue!).
This issue starts out with the wonderful Frazer Irving’s art – telling the story of Black Bolt and Lockjaw’s friendship, from when Black Bolt was a little baby to where we recently saw him in Inhumans Prime. You see Lockjaw (sadly) outliving his mother, developing a relationship with our King Black Bolt.
After this we return to the main story that we’ve been treated to over the past few months, Lockjaw just saved Black Bolt from his cell. Realising what this prison is, who made it you get a sense of what Lockjaw means to Black Bolt. Like many people, what their dog means to them – his oldest friend. It’s really, really sweet, and I love it.
But equally, you see Black Bolt contemplate what to do next – return to his family? Or return to the prison which held him captive, but what unfolds in his mind genuinely made me happy. Saladin is a fantastic writer, and he definitely knows how to write the Inhumans – Medusa is stated as being able to handle Maximus, of course we know this but it’s just nice that even when not in this book she’s being written as a strong woman – it’s only a single sentence but it’s another thing that made me smile, I wonder if Saladin would write a Medusa solo?
What I love next about this book is that it shows the Black Bolt has developed real feelings and connections to these people who aren’t his family. I’m not saying he’s completely Inhuman – but he does value family above all else, and so he goes back into the Prison.
The to-and-fro between Blackagar and Creel is nice, Creel regaining his powers and Black Bolt genuinely pleased to be back with his pal. Creel introducing himself to the “Space Mutt” is also sweet. Because Lockjaw.
The next few pages are dedicated to them finding Blinky, Molyb and Raava, for tonight – it seems like there is going to be a jailbreak. They end up having a few really cool action pages when they break into the Jailer’s Chamber, they get attacked by what I can only describe as Eye-Bats.
That’s where I got hit in the feels.
Lockjaw gets hit by an escaping Spyder, and lets be honest – Black Bolt’s response is what all of us would do. Completely decimate the person hurting our dog. He’s still breathing though (Lockjaw, not Spyder).
Our heroes finally reach the Jailer’s chamber and honestly, it’s not what I expected. It’s lots of monitors, lots of technology, and what appears to be a film of the Jailer when he was a prisoner himself – having a power that feeds off of other psychically, and it appears he’s been using his power for centuries – driving him mad.
The next page shows something strange happening – the Jailer seemingly setting a trap. It looks like those who have died by Black Bolt’s hands are appearing in front of him, angry and making Black Bolt afraid. It ends, leaving us eagerly anticipating #6.
Both the art and the story in this book are amazing, quite frankly, my favourite writers and artists at Marvel are those who have done wacky things, or their art is just really “out there”. I’ve spoken about it plenty of times on the Podcast. Christian Ward’s art is so space-y, it just works. What I really love is just the colour palette that he’s used, it’s dark, mysterious and just perfect for the story. Christian just seems to put mountains and mountains of effort into these pages – (also go follow him on twitter @cjwardart) honestly, Ward is (in my opinion) the absolute best choice of artist for this story, and he continues to show that.
In a similar vein, Saladin Ahmed is the best choice of writer for this story. In my opinion it doesn’t read like what Marvel are currently pushing out, it reads like a story that you can really get involved with and attached to. Whilst some comics are more of a read once and not read again for half a decade, this one will keep drawing me back again and again. Maybe it’s because there are elements that just make it so human? It’s sort of how I felt about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. It’s a great story, and just makes you want to read/see more because you do get invested. I can really get behind the idea of prose novelists coming to Marvel and writing a comic, it just works really well.
Frazer Irving on this issue also really compliments both Christian and Saladin, the art is (again) “out there” and really different from what you traditionally see in comics at the moment, maybe I just like funky art – but it works well. Frazer Irving is also a really nice guy, so I urge you to go follow him on Twitter too
And finally, that Lockjaw story! Frankly, it was amazing to see, does it finally solve the debate of whether Lockjaw was an Inhuman or Dog beforehand? Or does it just beg the question, “Was Lockjaw’s mother an Inhuman or Dog prior to Terrigenisis?”.