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Blackwood Mourning After 1 Main

"Blackwood: The Mourning After #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

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Written by Evan Dorkin
Illustrated, inked, and colored by Veronica and Andy Fish
Lettered by Greg McKenna
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 12th, 2020

Review:

The students and staff of Blackwood College are still reeling from the death of Dean Ogden. They’re also dealing with the new knowledge that the guy is 300 years old, this place is haunted, and there are all kinds of supernatural creatures around. Some are handling this better than others. Where do they go next?

I’m so glad to see Blackwood return with The Mourning After, as the first series ends right when it really gets going. This follow up would have benefited from a quick blurb on the credits page to refresh everyone’s memory and get new readers up to speed. I don’t know why more independent comics don’t do that. In any case, writer Evan Dorkin quickly re-introduces us to the cast and this situation, reveling in the strange nature of this college.

There are a number of elements at work in Blackwood: The Mourning After #1, mostly centered on the new class and how they’re dealing with all of this. I’m still not entirely sure how information about magic is shared or known in this world. Is it public knowledge? Or only known to some, like in Harry Potter? You just kind of go with it here.

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This issue works as a series of unsettling moments, each more uncomfortable than the last. It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of space. A few new characters pop up as we prepare for the Dean’s funeral and we get some more information about the mysterious death of their friend Dennis. There’s so much to unpack and it’s clear we’re just getting started.

Veronica and Andy Fish do a tremendous job with the artwork for Blackwood: The Mourning After #1. The characters are all very expressive, giving you an instant idea of their personality based on how they look and act. At times they can get almost too expressive, but that helps break the tension of a given scene, adding in a sprinkle of comic relief.

The colors are the real standout, with a robust and vibrant palette. This amplifies the unnatural nature of Blackwood College, giving it a feeling that anything can happen here. It goes from these bright pinks and yellows to dark blues as the sun sets. This is where my favorite scene of the issue pops up, when the kids see someone watching them from across the lake only to see them vanish in the creepiest way possible. If we get more moments like that, I will be a very happy camper.

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There’s a great scene with an unusual monster as well. It emerges from a book, seemingly made of paper and text. The coloring here is magnificent, giving it a hazy quality, like your eyes can’t really focus on it. The whole thing is surrounded by these huge sound effects. Letterer Greg McKenna makes this look even scarier with how big and intimidating the sounds it makes look.

Blackwood: The Mourning After picks up right where the previous story left off. I’d say that it hasn’t missed a beat, but that would be doing it a disservice. It’s building on everything that’s come before with some massive expansions, even more scares, and some dynamite artwork.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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