Acclaimed television writer LaToya Morgan makes her comic book debut with Dark Blood # 1, an ambitious journey through the life and times of Avery Aldridge.

On the first page of Dark blood # 1, a disembodied storyteller claims, “Most things are never what they seem.” Ironically, the cover of the issue promises a mysterious and melancholic story set around a black protagonist in World War II, with hints of a supernatural element, and Dark bloodThe debut number offers it all in style. Of the mind from acclaimed television writer LaToya Morgan, with art by Walt Barna, colors by AHG, and lettering by AndWorld Design, Dark blood offers an interesting starting point for a miniseries full of potential.

Dark blood it is situated immediately and deliberately in time and space: Alabama, 1955, the night of variance. In this way, he invites the reader to color the comic with his own historical knowledge, particularly in reference to the beginning of the story where a white man stalks our black protagonist, Avery. Without warning, the narrative goes back ten years before the variation, depicting Avery Aldridge as a pilot in WWII. When he returns to the present, a confrontation ends in disaster, with a very dead racist man, a wrecked car, and Avery fleeing the scene after displaying some capabilities beyond human. The narrative continues to play with time jumps as it educates the reader on sections of Avery’s life and past experiences.

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Even with so much action and jumps in space-time, this debut number seems deceptively short. The story orients its main mystery around “the variance”, but in reality that is only one of the enigmas that Dark blood gets in motion. Morgan clearly has an exceptional ability to set and juggling different plot threads, though you may still be tuning in to the relative brevity of the comic medium. The only absolute weakness in the problem is that very little is done to develop Avery’s own character. Although we see that many things happen to him, and from them we can extrapolate qualities of his personality, Morgan dedicates this first issue to building the world around Avery instead of giving us much sense of his inner life. As a result, the reader is left without much to hold onto in terms of who Avery is.

Walt Barna’s lines are consistently impressive, playing with light and shadow to create a world that feels deeply realistic. Barna’s art captures mood and movement in a cinematic way. The duality of light, both darkening and overexposed to great effect, is reflected in the use of colors. There is a fascinating sense of contrast to the AHG colors, juxtaposing warm and cool, muted and saturated, all in close succession. Although this could be unintentionally seen as a jarring error on the part of artists, these color choices are enormously useful, both in distinguishing the different times and places between which we jump in. Dark blood and the mindset that colors Avery’s experience of them. The disparity of these visual cues is what makes them so effective, particularly the jumps to monochromatic and sepia tones, and allows for a creative and unique take on Avery’s perspective.

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Striking illustrations aside, the panel layout itself is a masterclass in rendering space. Its panels range from narrow and compact during tense sequences, to wide panels of equal size that give an impression of freedom and reach. AndWorld Design’s lettering is just as expressive, particularly driving home the chaos of WWII scenes with dynamic options.

The first number of Dark blood offers dramatic scenes with electrifying intensity, as well as bringing forth its own myths and preparing itself with a host of questions to answer. The mystery alone is tempting enough to qualify Dark blood # 1 as a must-read; however, there are several dimensions that you have yet to develop before it feels like a full-blown story. Hopefully by addressing not only the obvious questions but also the more subtle humanists later on, Dark blood It will be a miniseries to remember.

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