Previously: Black Cloud #1
The scope of Zelda Barrett’s story is expanding rapidly; while I would be lying if I said I fully understand all the pieces at play in Black Cloud‘s game of chess, I can say the excitement around watching these pieces fall into place is palpable. (In this metaphor, the chess pieces are also puzzle pieces, and I do not know how to play puzzle chess.)
Storywise, the absolute best part of this issue is meeting Dottie Havemeyer, wife of Mayor Denny Havemeyer and mother to Todd Havemeyer. She is not here for any of her husband’s shit, and she knows good-and-well her son Todd is not just “missing”. I hope we see a lot more of her and her dressing down of Tru–I mean, Mayor Havemeyer and his team of red-hatted sycophants, who are captured brilliantly on the issue’s cover (seen above) looking almost like a Red Scare propaganda poster.
We also meet two people from Zelda’s past; a link to her past, as it were (tell me how I’m supposed to not make Legend of Zelda jokes): Frank, whose face we have yet to be shown; and a wonderful, yet unnamed, character Zelda reaches out to for help. The latter character is a fantastically “ordinary” design, which I love because she’s supposed to be someone who has left behind the fantasy world she, Zelda, and Frank come from and is now just a woman running a beer store New York. We’re certain to learn more about these two soon, as well as their exact roles in whatever revolution Zelda coordinated against the Oldfathers of their world, whoever they are. I’m hazy on the details of just what it is that happened with them, which I’m sure is supposed to be the case, since it hasn’t really been revealed yet. All we know is Zelda bolting when she and Todd were in trouble is apparently not the first time she’s abandoned someone when things got tough.
The art continues to be terrific. I particularly noticed the difference in design for Zelda in each of the two worlds; they differ drastically but are both excellent character. She goes from wearing a faded high-neck windbreaker, drop-crotch harem pants, and wrap boots to evening gowns, pink hair, and purple lipstick. In fact, the contrast is so stark and the transitions are so seamless it took me a while to be fully convinced they are the same person. Again, I’m guessing this is intentional and will become clear as we learn more about how these two worlds relate to each other.
It feels like we are on the verge of getting some very fun artwork when we formally meet Frank and see why Zelda seems to have gone from–at the very least–a friendly relationship with him to one which sees her being visibly afraid of him. If I had to guess, it seems like Zelda’s skillful storytelling led ol’ Frank down a dark path, which can only mean good things for us as readers.
This issue does not have much back matter to speak of, but we do get a nice letter from Ivan Brandon about how well the series has done, as well as a look at next month’s badass cover. Speaking of covers, Black Cloud‘s principal artist Greg Hinkle did two variant covers for this issue; they feature a design of Zelda modeled after one of Image Comics’ oldest characters Spawn, in celebration of Image Comics’ 25th anniversary: Cover B and Cover C.
Catch you back here next month when we hopefully meet Frank.