Review – Blackbird Book 1: The Great Beast (Image Comics)

Blackbird Book 1: The Great Beast is One of the Most Vibrant Graphic Novels Out There

Blackbird is one of those series that’ll catch your eye and make you want to look closer. The cover art alone is striking – and attention-grabbing. Trust me, that’s how I found this series. The artwork within and the plot hold up to the expectations set by the covers.

The first book in the series, Blackbird Book 1: The Great Beast, is striking, but it is also an enchanting read. Nina lives in a world where magic is real, but it’s hidden. She knows that much is true, even if nobody else will believe her. Unfortunately, she still has to hunt for the rest of the truths she desperately seeks.

This series is by far one of the most beautiful series I’ve read this year, and I’ve been reading many series. But the fact that the plot holds up to the artwork really makes it shine. I’ve been enjoying following Nina’s story and hope others do as well.

Writing

Blackbird Book 1: The Great Beast is surprisingly complex, although it’s pretty exterior. The story doesn’t waste any time getting into the thick of things; we’re immediately introduced to Nina’s world and her plights. From there, it’s a whirlwind of a read.

Sam Humphries has created a world of complex magical rules, systems, and policies. This hidden world is fascinating, and Humphries makes it even more so by merely hinting at the rules of its society.

And then, of course, there’s the emotional twists and turns this graphic novel takes. Nina’s journey for the truth is compelling, fascinating, and, yes, at times even heartbreaking. Some of the revelations make sense, while others are utterly shocking. Almost all of them elicit some form of reaction or emotion, and that’s where the series really shines.

Blackbird quickly became one of my favorite series throughout the last few months. So much so that I jumped at the opportunity to reread all the issues in volume format. And yes, it was just as good the second time around.

Art

I mentioned this above already, but Blackbird is honestly one of the most striking series out there right now. Blackbird Book 1: The Great Beast is full of vibrant covers, dramatic fight scenes, and striking magical illustrations.

Jen Bartel is the artist for this series, and she is undoubtedly the person who brings this plot to life. Her linework is amazing, solid, and grounded in reality when needed, but when let loose to the magical side of things…it becomes something more.

It’s the color palette that brings the art to a whole new level. The colorist for the series alternates from time to time, with Triona Farrell, Jen Bartel, and Nayoung Wilson all taking turns. However, it’s hard to tell when they switch out as they all work with the same color palette – thankfully.

Conclusion

Blackbird Book 1: The Great Beast is a brilliant read, whether it’s your first time reading the series or your second (or more). The plot is gripping and emotionally compelling, while the artwork is spectacular and captivating.

I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this series, but honestly, the team behind Blackbird has clearly put a lot of effort into making this an outstanding series. I loved the logic and rules behind their magic system, the complexity of Nina’s family situation, and everything else there was to this series.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

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