Publisher: Image Comics
Released: October 11th 2017
Issues: Black Cloud 1-5
Black Cloud is the brain child of Jason Latour (Wolverine, Winter Soldier, Southern Bastards, Spider-Gwen), Ivan Brandon (DC’s Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape, Kobra, Marvel’s Secret Invasion, Viking), Greg Hinkle (the Rattler, Airboy), and Matt Wilson (Suburban Glamour, Wonder Woman, Secret Avengers, The Wicked + The Devine); together they’ve created a unique world, or rather, one unique world connected to a mundane world.
In many ways Black Cloud reminded me of a psychedelic blend of Alice in Wonderland and Narnia. Zelda (yes that really is her name) has the ability to pass from our world, to another, more compelling world. How does she do this you ask? Her method varies, but it mostly seems to involve submerging herself in a large (human sized or bigger) body of water. Add in some talking animals, and a war or two, and you can see why it reminded me so much of those novels.
I honestly think my favorite thing about Black Cloud was the artwork. It’s the first thing I saw about it, and it’s what I remember most distinctly. The colors are so vibrant, yet the artwork itself is almost coarse, with jagged edges and a more organic feel to it (some would call it psychedelic, with all the colors being used). I’ve seen Greg Hinkle and Matt Wilson’s previous works, but clearly they work well as a team, because this is just outstanding.
As for the plot itself; it can be confusing at times. While I’m never uncertain about which world Zelda is in (they’re both incredibly distinct), at times I was uncertain about the timeline or other basic points, such as which world Zelda originates from (I think she’s from the other world, but I’m not completely certain of that). If you can overlook these concerns, you’ll find it to be an interesting (and beautiful) read.
I’m sure that the first volume has some of that “new series clumsiness” and that future volumes will be more streamlined. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping for. Black Cloud has so much potential; I’d hate to see that wasted. I’m planning on continuing the series, and am very much looking forward to the release of the next volume.