Overview

Black Terror #10

Review

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Black Terror #10

Credits

  • Words: Phil Hester & Alex Ross
  • Art: Wagner Reis
  • Colors: Ivan Nunes
  • Story Title: The Ghosts of the Living - Part One
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: May 12, 2010

Black Terror #10 opens with an African shaman pounding nails into corpses in order to tether the lost dreams of men to the physical world at the behest of the villain Magi. While I’m not always enthusiastic when I hear a book features paranormal or ethereal elements, I at least give it a try.

I was thrown for a loop, however, when the next scene begins on a phantom pirate ship, floating over Washington, DC. Several masked heroes, including Black Terror, ride this ghost ship towards an apartment fire, where they find a gargantuan ghost.

If you’re like me, you’ve been thrown for a loop and don’t know which way is down. You probably wouldn’t be surprised when Black Terror attempts to fight this ghost goliath, only to land inside of it and going toe-to-toe with his own evil twin.

Each of these moments are powerful. They’re clearly comic book moments, where imagery rules supreme. The problem arises from the combination of them. Superheroics can often include ghosts and the like, but the inclusion of a pirate ship is too much. When Black Terror fights his own evil twin, I knew that anything could happen. This book doesn’t seem to know what its genre is and suffers for it.

I wonder if this book would be better handled by fewer creators. Alex Ross is in charge of art direction and plot, while Phil Hester writes the scripts.

This also goes for the art. While Astro City has shown Ross’s designs can be impeccably handled by another artist, Black Terror shows the opposite. Ross’s designs are classic, but the interior art of Wagner Reis is stiff. He draws every panel as though it were a pin-up. Black Terror stands ready for action, despite the fact that he is having a casual conversation with a fellow hero.

The silver lining on this book is its throwback convention of the vehicle. I may have bashed the ghost ship earlier, but it’s a welcome return. You rarely see the Batmobile as a major story element.

I get the feeling Black Terror’s Phantom Galleon will be around for a while. Adding these kinds of details adds depth to a character’s world, and Black Terror’s became a hair deeper.

If Black Terror’s creators are able to unify their grand ideas into one, cohesive story, it might stand a chance against other powerhouse titles. With names like Ross and Hester, the book should have legs, but it suffers from too many, wide-ranging ideas.

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