Review – Black Cloak #2 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kelly Thomson
Artwork: Meredith McClaren
Lettering: Becca Carey
Release Date: 22nd Feb 2023

After a stonking debut issue, I couldn’t help but take the chance to read the follow-up in what I’m now sure will be a solid fantasy detective series.

I could say that our story continues with a cold open on a number of accounts, although not in the traditional sense; we do find ourselves in what appears to be the Black Cloak morgue… Given the crescendo and pace at the end of the first issue, this sequel feels like it initially stumbles in trying to find its same sure footing. The art remains ideal for the tone and content and the writing is still engaging. The shift back to almost expositional conversation just didn’t land this where I expected.

Despite my early misgivings and apprehension, Black Cloak #2 quickly hits a groove with a bit of police procedural humour. A number of leads have presented themselves and Essex is given the duty of taking statements. The interviews of all those with hot tips on the recent murder is wonderfully done and captures the quick edit and snappy, punchy style which is no mean feat in the graphic format. McClaren takes the opportunity to showcase the weird myriad, if not menagerie, of peoples that inhabit this realm and their style compliments and balances the darker nefarious words at play. The whole scene strikes the perfect chord for me and manages to deliver something one can dig into, despite the breezy ‘played for laughs’ vibes.

For all the wackos and wannabes looking for attention, a proper lead is uncovered and the plot pushes forward in an organic manner rather than feeling dragged from scene to scene. Magic, it appears, is afoot, and Phaedra’s past looks certain to be making efforts to not only haunt her but unravel the life she has made for herself.

Taking the issue as a whole, I have to correct myself and my thoughts on the opening. In context, these early scenes are needed to really cement our connection with the characters and the information presented is essential. Again, as with the first issue, I was instantly finding myself poring over each page and panel for more details and to enjoy the world which has been created. Whilst perhaps not a typical whodunnit, I’ve still not even an inkling, I’m captivated by this mysterious tale.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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