Published on June 18th, 2018 | by Dana Folkard0
BLACKWOOD #1 & 2 REVIEW
Summary: Delve into the dark arts.
Blackwood College has a bit of a shady reputation. It’s a place where one can study the art of sorcery, pagan witch cults or esoteric arts…yep, it’s that kind of college. Penned by multi-Eisner award-winning comic creator, Evan Dorkin, with art by the talented Veronica Fish, Blackwood delves into the dark arts, taking us on a journey with a magical murder mystery twist.
The story follows Wren Valentine, an edgy young woman with a dark past, who is enrolled at Blackwood College. All pretty straightforward stuff, except the fact that Blackwood College is a school that trains its students to master supernatural abilities and study the occult. After arriving late in the night, the students are inducted and shown to their dorms, where Wren reluctantly befriends three other students, all who possess troubled or mysterious pasts. The students try to settle in, however, there is the niggling feeling that something just isn’t quite right about this place, like a bad and sinister evil is lurking in the shadows. Just what that evil is exactly, they are about to find out.
Straight away when I first read about Blackwood and what the basic plot was going to be, I immediately thought that this was going to be a Harry Potter inspired story. Though I absolutely love Harry Potter, I’m so happy that I was wrong, as this story is so much more than that. This is a supernatural horror story with a compelling and wicked twist and there are quite a few things that I loved about this first issue. Firstly, each character has their own unique complexities, making the dynamic of this group one of the greatest strengths of this story. Funnily enough, I got some Scooby-Doo vibes with this crew, with the added addition of moody teenage angst. Secondly, I loved the sense of mystery and the unknown, as the group becomes unwilling participants with the unfolding dark turn of events. It’s all smoke and mirrors now, with puzzling clues and occurrences coming at us, making it feel like it could turn into a murder mystery/detective story. Linally layered with lore, cryptic details and bucket loads of atmosphere, this world has an electric charge of malevolent horror that has me fully invested in this story.
The art by Veronica Fish is lively and fresh, perfectly capturing the personal nuances of each of the characters. There is a lot of emotion running through her art, which to me effortlessly captures the inner turmoil that Wren is grappling with. There is also a level of detail in her drawings that gives this world a feeling of depth and history. I loved searching each page for the finer background details, exploring the layered features and random objects. We also get to see Fish flex her artistic muscle with some interesting monster designs. There are some pretty grotesque things going on here, and for me these scenes were wildly explosive and action-packed. The colouring is moody and atmospheric, giving this world a sinister horror vibe, with it all coming together to form a cohesive and compelling visual narrative.
Overall, I’m absolutely loving this series. The writing is clever and sophisticated, delving into an emotionally complex horror story. I love the supernatural side of this story, bringing a mysterious and ominous tone to the narrative, and this coupled with the lovely art makes for a highly enjoyable read. Can’t wait for the next issue.
Be sure to check this one out!
I’m giving this issue 5 out of 5 stars!
CREATIVE TEAM: Evan Dorkin and Veronica Fish
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
REVIEWER: Dana Folkard