Black Cloak #3 – Image Comics
Creative Team: Kelly Thompson, Meredith McClaren and Beccy Carey
Welcome to an all new edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast by way of Nerd Initiative!
For this entry, the mystery grows deeper for Detective Phaedra Essex in the pages of Image Comics’ new hit series. Black Cloak by Kelly Thompson, Meredith McClaren and Becca Carey has been an excellent read thus far, combining elements of true crime and fantasy. It immediately went back to print, due to overwhelming fan support. The layers behind the death of the heir apparent to the throne of Kiros, have slowly started their reveal. After last issue’s conclusion, tensions are running high, putting the city on edge. Let’s see where the latest chapter takes us, shall we?
***POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING***
A Mysterious Royal Death
The mystery surrounding Black Cloak centers around the death of Freyal III of Sidra. He was found dead inside an apartment, in a questionable part of Kiros known as the Narrows. Being part of Kiros’s Elf royal family, this death has garnered wide-spread attention. If that wasn’t enough, there are two other deaths possibly connected to this case. Now tasked to solve this case are Black Cloaks (Kiros Law Enforcement) Phaedra Essex and Pax.
Their journey to solve this case, and keep Kiros (the last city in the known world) from the brink of chaos has been challenging to say the least. Factor in Phaedra’s personal connection to Freyal and things have become dangerous. From interviewing potential suspects to meeting with the Queen herself, Phaedra has now become a target. There have been multiple attempts to kill Phaedra, but that hasn’t slowed her and Pax down from trying to solve the case.
Where Things Left Off
Last we saw Phaedra, she had returned to her apartment with the Kiros Three waiting for her. They are considered the most powerful Humans in Kiros. Knowing that Freyal’s death could now cause an enormous power shift from Elves to Humans, Phaedra’s guard is up, unsure of their true motives. They give Phaedra a possible break in the case, which sends her rushing out to meet up with Pax. They begin to figure out their next move with the new information.
Where We’re Headed
This issue kicks off with Phaedra making her way through “The Trees”, a section of Kiros. The residents all cower away upon seeing a Black Cloak wandering the streets. She makes her way to meet Pax at a local establishment to form their plans. Phaedra talks about a place where Freyal might have left a message. Pax begins pleading with Phaedra to open up about what she knows, since she has been keeping things from him.
When Phaedra finally mentions a few clues, Pax is shocked to hear who gave the latest lead, realizing what that could mean. Pax and Phaedra discuss the Kiros Three’s plea of innocence and how they’re shifting blame to the Dracona, whose unique blades have been used in attacks on Phaedra.
The pair take off to check out a hidden location of Phaedra and Freyal’s past. What they find there is a message left that no one will be suspecting. What was left at the magical hiding spot? How will the case be impacted moving forward? Readers witness how this sequence sends the pair into the path of someone whose words will influence Phaedra to gamble on the future of the case heading into the issue’s final moments.
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Thompson presents a strong pull on Phaedra’s relationships in this issue. The first time involves the distance Pax notices revolving around the case. It plays in presenting how distracted Phaedra might be with her heavily emotional tie to Freyal. The second, and arguably biggest one, is her reaction to what she finds in the magical hiding spot. Thompson crafts that sequence to where not only does it impact Phaedra, but leaves readers with a somber reaction.
The final one is the latest person of interest. The conversation becomes a driver for the next stage in the case, but gives perspective that the world of Krios isn’t as cut and dry as it seems. All three of these sequences tie together brilliantly to move the story forward.
McClaren and Carey bring the fantasy world to life with vivid imagery. The opening pages showcase the various residents of the Trees, and gives this section of Kiros its own unique feel. It’s a credit to the art team on giving each area a distinct energy which plays perfectly off the writing.
The back and forth between Phaedra and Pax demonstrates the partner’s longtime connection, while at the same time showing how this case is ultimately wearing on them. The best example is after they hear what’s left for them at the hiding spot. Phaedra and Pax don’t hide their feelings in a brief panel, but one that stands out for their facial reactions. The final moments are capped off by an excellent one page ending panel to take readers on the next stage of the mystery.
Black Cloak continues to push forward with its detailed fantasy mystery that needs to be a main-stay on all comic readers pull lists. Thompson, McClaren and Carry shift focus onto Phaedra Essex’s mounting challenges with superb writing and imagery. Don’t miss this latest chapter when you’re at the local comic shop this week!
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