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Review Brew: Black Cloud #6

Published By: Image Comics
Written By: Ivan Brandon
Art By: Paul Reinwand, Matt Wilson, and Dee Cunniffe
Price: $3.99

Very seldom do you see a body of work peer at itself through its own lens, while still in rolling a cohesive storyline that remains beholden unto itself. Yet this issue, this story, is rich with precisely such mythic duality. Zelda is the dreaded champion of this particular land, who has conquered the Oldfathers of Fear and used her own dark powers of story to evoke an unsettled freedom for the people. The only problem is that the elimination of the old ways, the old stories, the old ideas, has proven to be more detrimental than anticipated. Her partner, the face of this rebellion, is now working double time with her, to get all of it back.
 
But all redemption comes with a price.
When you reject what made you prosper, you will likely have to give up a portion of yourself to get it back.
 
Are we talking this fictive tale now or industry? Those able to squint through the cracks will notice at once a rather stinging commentary on the beast that calls itself “mainstream entertainment.” From comics, to pulp fiction, to movies and beyond, they gained their prominence via creative institution. Out of the box storytellers. The magic makers.
 
And then they banished them. Exploited their works and banned them from paradise. Only now, guess what? Eden is dying. Hollywood and mainstream entertainment are hemorrhaging creative energy, frantically trying to staunch the bleeding with sensationalized and bloated reboots- but it’s not working. They need the magic makers again to bring the good stories back again.
Imagine the price of that.
 
The dialogue is quite intriguing all throughout the issue, never quite sinking into the easy level of straight talk. One gets the sense that this is a story who knows it’s a story. Artfully clicking through alternate points of view, this single story does an excellent job of advancing the plot to familiar readers and introducing the world to new ones.
Years ago, Kanye West released an album entitled “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” and that mouthful of appellation is exactly how I would describe the artwork here. Don’t expect the broad, glorious strokes of your typical superhero fanfare, nor the muted regal tones of a gritty fairy tale. They wouldn’t fit. The pages tell their own story of suffering and loss and the ruggedness of hope. The distinction between the human characters, the talking cats (yep you read that right), and the diminutive goblin like creatures armed with spears will astound you. It’s so close to “real life” in its dark, ambiguous style because in real life there is no one style of everything.
And that’s what’s makes this book beautiful.
5 Coffins out of 5

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