"Blackwood #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Evan Dorkin
Illustrated by Veronica Fish
Layouts & Letters by Andy Fish
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 29th, 2018
Blackwood College is under attack by the mad Bug Mother. Hordes of insects have swarmed the school and Dean Colby and a small security team are trying in vain to keep them back. Fortunately, the freshmen class has a plan as they discover the truth behind this whole mess and former Dean Ogden's history.
There's a lot to unpack in Blackwood #4. This is the final issue of the mini-series and while there is a satisfying ending, we have to take a long trip through Exposition Town to get there. I wonder how this might have been structured differently if there was even one more chapter to flesh out the story. As it stands, the kids figure some stuff out and then someone explains the backstory to them for what feels like forever, but is really only four very text-heavy pages.
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This isn't to say it's not interesting or entertaining. It's just that it's a lot of story crammed into a small amount of space. Writer Evan Dorkin has crafted an epic tale of supernatural tension with history dating back for ages. The mythos surrounding Blackwood College runs deep and the door is left open to explore it further and I certainly hope we get to see that sooner or later.
This wrap-up has a gorgeous layout, taking you through each step of the background. I like how letterer Andy Fish changes the look of the narrator's word balloons to make for a rougher, non-traditional look. It gives the appearance that he's struggling to speak, like his vocal chords aren't completely there.
You can't deny how awesome Blackwood looks. Artist Veronica Fish did a tremendous job with this book from beginning to end. The artwork is expressive and full of emotion. The character designs are incredible. In this final chapter, there are a number of folks decked out in these militaristic uniforms with goggles and face masks that make them look like some kind of sci-fi soldiers. This is fitting as they're fighting an army of bugs.
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Oh, the bugs! Talk about creepy! This is a biblical level swarm with a ridiculous amount of bugs flying all over the place. If you're even slightly afraid of insects, Blackwood is going to freak you out. They are everywhere and in all shapes and sizes. The book opens with a literal battleground as the folks from the college struggle to fight back this horde capable of eating the flesh from their bones.
Blackwood is a fun read with some great characters, deep mythos, and awesome artwork. Unfortunately, it feels like it ends right when it really starts to get going. This is maybe the first few days of this new class and they've already been through so much. Imagine what the rest of the school year could entail.