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"The Blackening #3" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Amigo Comics

Blackening 3 00

Written by Massimo Rosi
Illustrated by Eduardo Mello
Colored by Giuliani
Lettered by Monkey Typers
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 6th, 2019

Review:

Tony's search for his kidnapped daughter has left his cyborg body in pieces. Found by a group of scavengers, he's given the opportunity to take the fight to Rattlers responsible for the murder of his husband and the destruction of his life. Meanwhile, Liam Arnhem is trying to track down answers of his own and this is leading him to the very top of the city.

The Blackening has taken some unexpected twists and turns recently, moving from an eerie sci-fi story to a conspiracy-laced thriller. All the while, writer Massimo Rosi plays with the very idea of humanity in a compelling narrative. Tony already had an artificial body, yet he was still considered a human being. He looked, sounded, and acted like one. After this issue, we can't really say that anymore. He might find his daughter, but he's losing so much more along the way.

We don't see the full extent of Tony's transformation until the tail end of this issue. There's a great build up to it as we see just how hopeless and defeated he's become and how this shady doctor represents a fleeting chance at vengeance. Our minds fill in all sorts of gruesome details as to what the end result may be.

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Artist Eduardo Mello frequently shows us Tony's perspective, so we can see the horrors around him as he sits, powerless to do anything but watch as this doctor works on his body. This helps to steadily build tension until Tony 2.0 is revealed. There's a confusion on his face, which is the only real emotion he shows. His eyes are completely black and I just realized that this might be what the title of the book is referring to.

Colorist Giuliani drains the life out of Tony, giving his human-like face the appearance of a ghost. Even his new robot body is pale and unforgiving. This contrasts well with the vibrant, futuristic world around him. In many ways this symbolizes how his heart has been ripped out with the murder of his husband and the kidnapping of his daughter.

Arnhem's story flows like a good hard-boiled detective tale. It's just that he's got a cybernetic face. His investigation is taking him to both the shadiest and sunniest parts of the city, unraveling a conspiracy that gets to the root of this new reality where a disease has ravaged mankind, forcing them to adopt cyborg bodies.

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Letterer Monkey Typers guides us through these interrogations, supplementing them with Arnhem's internal narration. These caption boxes provide some added context to the conversation and reveal what he's really thinking.

I've previous said The Blackening reminds me of Blade Runner. Now it's got a bit of a RoboCop vibe thrown in as Tony loses parts of himself in his quest for vengeance. While Arnhem is getting closer to answers, it may be too late for him to save Tony as he moves farther and farther from humanity. This is a deft exploration of what makes a man.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Blackening 3 Small
Art: Fourstars
Overall: Fourstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
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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