In Review: The Black Knight #3

Action, a hero, surprises, supernatural teases, Russian gangsters, and great escapes.

The covers: Five to find for this third issue. The A cover by Geebo Vigonte and Ivan Nunes is awesome as the Black Knight lunges down from the top of a building, her mouth open in a shout and her sword pointed at the reader. WOW! The character is excellent and the building equally stunning. Great coloring, too, with the building and the sky lightly colored so the darker colors of the title character draw the eyes. Ian Richardson and Hedwin Zaldivar have the Black Knight in action. She’s crouched over a fallen police officer, with her shield on her back to deflect a police helicopter’s fire. She also has her sword pointed at an officer’s throat, warning him to keep back. It’s hard to find a focus, with the top half of the page essentially empty as the ‘copter is obscured by the logo. The colors are okay, though everything is very light, save a patch of dynamic red sky. The C cover is the “Good Girl” frontpiece by Keith Garvey. The Black Knight stands before the reader with her sword held down. The character is good, but her cape looks really tiny and the background is too blurry. This is the cover I chose to accompany this review. Riveiro and Mohan Sivakami have created a puzzler with their D cover. Who are these characters? Three people, two men on either side of a wickedly smiling woman, look to be playing cards, but there aren’t any cards on the table. Behind the woman is a massive Carnage-like character smiling/snarling. I’d like this more if I knew who these people are. There’s also an In-Store Exclusive (limited to 100 copies) by Mike Krome and Ula Mos. I couldn’t find an image online, so good luck, collectors. Overall grades: A A+, B C+, C A-, and D B

The story: The Black Knight realizes that her day has taken a wrong turn. She’s in Riker’s Island Jail in New York City and she’s receiving fire from dirty guards who, as well as the warden, are on Nadia Vasilev’s payroll. She deflects bullets with her blade and slices and stabs where she can, but she doesn’t know how many of the men firing at her are on the dole. A tell-tale tattoo on the back of one unconscious guards pegs him for a turncoat. She’s about to give this bad guy a final sentence, but two people arrive. Meanwhile at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, Vasilev reveals why she’s trying to kill the rival Grigor family. This rival family is celebrating the expected victory of their cousin Ursa who’s killed Vasilev. Someone makes an unexpected entrance to show them they’re celebrating prematurely. This is followed by Peyton learning technology is not her friend, while the Grigor clan is about to get an unexpected visitor. There’s a lot to like about this issue, created by Joe Brusha, Dave Franchini, and Terry Kavanagh, with the latter writing it, starting with the Black Knight making a great exit with a fantastically named associate. What Vasilev is revealed to be doing was a good surprise, with her emotions also being unexpected. This was a neat turn and the antagonist for the final issue of this series might be teased on these pages. I really like the nightclub sequence because it was direct and quick, exactly what one would expect of someone in that profession. The technological twist on 19 was great — didn’t see that coming and it’s first time I’ve seen that used in a comic. The last two pages are a good setup, but not much of a cliffhanger. This was a solid read with good action that moves the story closer to the climax. Overall grade: A-

The art: Sergio Ariño really does some awesome work in this book. The angle of the first page, which is a full-paged splash slightly tilted to the right, increasing the Black Knight’s speed deflecting bullets, which are ricocheting off her blade. Pages 2 and 3 have panels that cross over both pages, but tilt from the left to the upper right, again having Ariño increase the speed of the action. The establishment panel of the hero atop 2 is great and the action that crosses the bottom is exciting, with the final panel on 3 strong. The same format is on 4 and 5, but now they start in the upper left and move diagonally to the right. The reaction from the guard in the second panel on 4 is awesome, as is the kick to a face resulting in broken goggles. The pose that ends Page 5 is outstanding. It’s a great build to the reveal on 6. The tease of whom Vasilev is talking to is cool and its shape makes the reader question why Vasilev is so emotional addressing the character. The escape from jail is cool with the setting being well detailed. The entrance at the bottom of 14 is perfect and the action and time delivered is terrific. The final two settings are equally outstanding looking, with the last page, a full-paged splash, striking. My hat’s off to Ariño for this issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: The sounds and the expulsions on the first page are excellent in startling yellows and reds. They also stand out sharply against the blue setting and the darkly clad characters. When blood is spilled it’s a really striking red. I also like that Robby Bevard doesn’t have to color all the backgrounds, leaving some white, allowing the characters to pop. Having Peyton’s thought boxes colored in blue is a good way for a reader to recognize what they’re reading. Creepy crimsons dominate Vasilev’s house. The violets at the informal headquarters of the Grigor crime family suit the location to a tee. The light tans are a great way to create the flashback on 18. I also like that the colors on the final page create a strong night without losing any of the artwork. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, sounds, narration, dialogue, yells, character identifiers, whispered speech, and music are created by Saida Temofonte. The design of the scene settings are in an urban neon style, with the first letter of each resembling ancient text. The narration from Peyton is in italics, visually differing it from dialogue. The sounds, especially the gunfire is spectacular. The character identifiers look as if they’re from military dog tags. Sadness and shock employ the whispered text, increasing the emotion of the moment. The text on this book is good. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is a solid comic with action, a hero, surprises, supernatural teases, Russian gangsters, and great escapes. The visuals are highly detailed and the colors and letters are perfect. A great book. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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