BLACK CLOAK #1 review – Futuristic Fantasy Murder Mystery (Thompson, McClaren, Carey) Image Comics

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Black Cloak is a futuristic/fantasy/buddy cop mashup that sets up a rich world that begs to be expanded upon. The story is set in ‘the last city in the known world’ hundreds of years after a major war. The book combines future tech with fantastical creatures (elves, mermaids, etc.), resulting in a Saga-like vibe.  In the middle of this are the black cloaks, the city’s police force, charged with solving a murder. 

The issue starts out a bit confusing, throwing you right in the middle of things. Aside from the introduction page, Black Cloak is very light on exposition. Instead, important details are slid organically into the dialogue. If you stick with it, you are rewarded, as it makes sense once the pieces fall into place.  When things click together, this approach makes it feel more rewarding. With that said, at its core, Black Cloak feels like a noir murder mystery.

The art is striking, with bold outlines that feel like cell shaded animation. I’d say it reminds me of the Teen Titans animated show (2003, not Teen Titans Go), but I don’t want to give the impression that this is a kiddie book. In addition to the murder that drives the plot, there are other adult themes and curse words.

Black Cloak #1 ends on a major cliffhanger. Given how well the first issue sets up the mystery and the room for more worldbuilding, I anticipate readers will be excited for the second issue. The fantastical and futuristic elements are nice touches (and will certainly appeal to fans of those genres), but if you strip those out, what remains is a compelling murder mystery. As a result, I think noir mystery fans will want to check this book out even if they don’t usually gravitate towards fantasy.


Black Cloak #1 is set to be released on January 11th 2023.


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