Black Bolt #8 serves as an excellent jumping on point for readers who have missed out on the first arc. It’s always a challenge to tell a story where the lead protagonist cannot speak, but writer Saladin Ahmed has a firm grasp on the character. Ahmed understands what makes him work well, giving him depth and development that help flesh out his character in a way that fans will love, while exploring his inner struggles as he returns to an Earth where the Inhumans have suffered terribly at the hands of an evil Captain America and his corrupt government.
Black Bolt #8 opens with some amazing artwork from Christian Ward and never really lets up, with plenty of stunning visual treats that make this book a must-read. The panels where Blinky decides to use her inner eye to explore what Earth is like are stunning, as Ward also uses this opportunity to bring great detail to characters like Loki, Doctor Strange and Jean Grey and really shines with the attention to detail on all three characters. But the main focus is kept on Black Bolt, who has brought both Lockjaw and Blinky in tow with him, both of whom make for contrasting companions. Blinky is more of the optimistic nature bringing an element of light heartedness to the series and Lockjaw is sure to remain a fan favorite.
The nature of the relationship between Blinky and Black Bolt is explored here in greater detail, with Blinky essentially acting as Black Bolt’s means of communication to the world. The dynamic between Black Bolt and Blinky, and how it affects Black Bolt’s son, Ahura, is really interesting to watch unfold, as the book continues to be an incredibly compelling read as a result of this.
It’s important to note that Ward is on colors as well as pencils and he does an excellent job, making use of a series of colors that really helps make this book shine. There is a clear distinction between the locations, characters, and action sequences that the book has to offer and the lighter tone really helps add a vibrant vibe that feels similar to what Thor: Ragnarok was going for. The facial expressions in the characters that Ward is able to bring to the table really help in adding emotional depth to the series, in a way that’s done so effortlessly nothing about this book feels forced, be it plot or artwork.
Black Bolt’s return to Earth is not a smooth one. When you think the book is going to go in one direction it takes a turn for another, and really makes the most out of the potential available to the character. After wrapping up a debut arc that was so well crafted it was always going to be interesting to see if Ahmed could continue the fine form of the previous issues. From this eighth issue it looks like this is something that both Ahmed and Ward have managed very well.