By Frank J. Barbiere, Victor Santos, & Adam Metcalfe
A question that many comic readers and moviegoers ask is: what would the world be like if superheroes were real? Very few books have attempted this idea, and even fewer have successfully presented it. One success that instantly comes to mind is Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Now, Black Market is not being compared to Watchmen based on their quality, but the basic ideas and viewpoints are very similar, and allow for much connection and inclusion of the reader. This book looks to delve into the perspectives rarely explored in comics these days, the characters without the superpowers; people that have everyday problems, but aren’t able to put on masks and take out their frustrations on ridiculously clad super villains. This is the story of a normal man, faced with a life altering problem, forcing him to make rash decisions to solve those problems.
The visual talents of Victor Santos and Adam Metcalfe come together to bring you a look that fits perfectly into the stories’ themes and ideas. Santos has a unique art style reminiscent of golden age comics. His simple lines and cartoonish designs create a look comparable to pop art, which is even more noticeable once Metcalfe’s colors hit the page. Here, the colors and overall palette are simple, much like the pencils, with minimal shading that helps convey that classic, old-school design. Overall, the art is quite fitting, reminding us of when superheroes were first introduced, and considering one of the story’s central themes is the emergence of superheroes themselves.
Black Market is a very interesting and involving, realistic viewpoint on superheroes and super-powered beings and what impact they have on society, especially on those who are less than super, but aspire to be. A surprise ending, along with great character development and background info make this an easy read, while containing a lot of themes and similarities that most mature readers can relate to. This truly is the comic for the “everyman” looking to escape into views and perspectives that may not be so different from our own.