Previously: Black Cloud #4
In the final issue of its first arc, Black Cloud sort of wraps some things up but mostly just moves more pieces into place for the future. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.
Last month’s issue really got things back on track, at least for me, with this series. We finally met Frank, which gave a face to the many mistakes in Zelda’s past and brought the narrative into a much-needed focus. That issue presented a lot of different avenues for the series to explore in its future, and it took the series out of being a string of standalone, pretty vignettes and put it onto the track of an ongoing series with staying power; something you can see continuing to be published years down the road.
Now, if you read my review of last month’s issue, you’ll probably already know that’s how I felt about that issue. I reiterate it here, however, because it’s also basically what issue #5 did; it reiterated the same sort of things as issue #4. This is not a bad issue, at all. In fact, I quite enjoy the visuals we’re given of yet another character design for Zelda fighting giant Todd, who is quite literally aroused by how scared everyone is of him; it plays out like so much of a Gulliver’s Travels homage, and it’s a delightful, multi-page battle sequence. But that’s the only big, no pun intended, moment in this issue, and it’s almost entirely centered on the artwork. It’s another instance of this series opting to go big, still no pun intended, on the art and, unfortunately, short change the plot.
That’s not to say there’s no plot movement here; there certainly is, but it’s largely relegated to the final two pages. Those final two pages, again, set up some very interesting possibilities for the future, but that would have probably been even more effective if the previous issue didn’t also feel like it was setting things up for the future. That’s all. I do look forward to the next issue; I do look forward to what Zelda is about to do to atone for her mistakes in both her worlds. I just wish the series had a little less looking forward and little more being there.
Unfortunately, this issue does not have any back matter. This series isn’t selling super-well, but it is still selling; people just don’t appear to be engaging with it. I can’t say that’s a surprise because this first arc has been hit-or-miss. The artwork is consistently great, but the plot has been undeniably shaky and arguably aimless. I’m still optimistic about where the story goes next, though, and I’ll be right here when the series returns in December.
This first arc, now titled “No Exit” will be released in trade paperback on October 11, 2017.