Writer Frank J. Barbiere's new BOOM! limited series is all about moral dilemmas. If super-powered beings really existed and their blood could unlock cures for cancer and numerous other diseases, how far would you go to obtain samples of their DNA?
The writer quickly tosses us into this brand new world and jumps between two time periods. This method really helps the pacing as we switch between the planning and the execution of trying to steal some of this "super" DNA. It's apparent this book is all about tough choices and that's going to help it stand out from other titles. This isn't about the superheroes -- it's about the every day people that live under the shadows these powerful beings cast as they fly above the cities. The leads are not out to save the world from the next diabolical villain or anything like that. They simply want to do what'll benefit them and it's allegedly for the greater good. Now, I say "allegedly" because this first chapter is just oozing with hints of future plot twists. You get the feeling you can't trust the "redeemed" brother or his partner and you can't help but wonder how far Ray will go since this mission could mean so much for his wife and his career. Consider me hooked and interested in seeing where this goes!
Artist Victor Santos and colorist Adam Metcalfe present a world that feels like a classic comic book with a noticeably bleak atmosphere.There's heavier shading when the discussions dive into more questionable territory and the initial "rescue" scene has perspectives and poses that feel like they could belong in a classic Superman tale. The visuals make a really great fit for the tone Barbiere establishes and it really does help us understand this is a world that stands divided on the "supers" and for totally legitimate reasons, too.
The cliffhanger is telegraphed a few pages before it drops, so that definitely lessens the shock. Even though it's likely you'll see the big twist coming, it still manages leaves us wondering how this will be handled as the story progresses, so it's not a total bummer. Also, it's obvious a first chapter is going to leave us with many questions -- they need to make us stick around, after all -- but there are a few elements which have me feeling a little left in the dark. When we're being introduced to a completely new world, tossing in a little more organic exposition here and there could have been beneficial.
BLACK MARKET is off to a very interesting start and most certainly left me wanting more. The strong emphasis on ethical dilemmas is being presented very well and has opened the door to a whole lot of potential. Throw in some fitting artwork and the end result is a smart and legitimately intriguing debut chapter that approaches a world of superheroes in a new way. BLACK MARKET is now on my radar and I'm very anxious to see where this story will go next.