Black Market #1 from BOOM! Studios throws us into its world head first. In this world, Super Heroes – known as Supers – arrived seemingly out of nowhere after normal every day citizens began dressing in costumes and fighting crime in their neighborhoods. They are powerful, they are extraordinary, they are, well, super. Ray Willis, our protagonist and narrator, is a brilliant former medical examiner who now works in a funeral home, preparing corpses. But when his estranged, criminal brother shows up on doorstep asking for his help with a plan to cure all disease, Ray Willis’s life takes a very dramatic turn. Oh, how do they plan to cure all disease you ask? Well, with the DNA of Supers, of course!
Frank J. Barbarie is known for writing Blackout, The White Suits and Five Ghosts and he brings a similar vibe to Black Market. It’s a new take on a standard comic genre, but doesn’t stray too far from home. Supers are an important part of the equation, but they aren’t the whole story. It’s about Ray, his relationship with his brother, and their mission. Barbarie tackles this new take on superhero mythos well, moving quickly between the past, present and future of Ray Willis’s life. The transitions between all three can be a little jumpy, but not so much that you would feel lost. Victor Santo’s artwork is perfectly pulpy, mixing noir with muted colors, which makes for the right kind of atmosphere for Black Market. The page and panel layouts are especially interesting making it a joy to read.
Black Market #1 is part of a 4-part series and this first issue succeeds at world building and introducing key people, while leaving room for suspense and speculation. It would be a perfect fit for anyone who loves an alternative comic about superheros, such as Brian Michael Bendis’ Powers.
Black Market is available now from BOOM! Studios.