"Blackwood #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Evan Dorkin
Illustrated by Veronica Fish
Layouts and Letters by Andy Fish
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 27th, 2018
What better time to learn about the secret occult school within Blackwood than after one of your classmates is dragged down a haunted well by a monster version of the Dean? That's where the new students find themselves and the reactions are decidedly mixed. Each learns about why they received a scholarship to begin with and it takes a little time to process that information.
I have to say that I had originally misunderstood the premise of Blackwood. That's all on me. I thought the occult qualities were out in the open, making it more like a Harry Potter situation. I really need to stop making that comparison, as the more I read Blackwood, the less it holds true. Instead, we get a much more intriguing story with a supernatural mystery at its heart. I'm more plugged into the series with this issue than with the first one and I was pretty impressed by the debut.
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It's easy to get wrapped up in the lives of these co-eds. I can't remember all of their names just yet, but we get a chunk of information about each one. This is presented naturally as part of the story and not in an awkward exposition dump or weird orientation exercise. There are a few sequences where artist Veronica Fish fills the page with images and all sorts of details. You can spend a lot of time sifting through all of this to pull out each tidbit and Easter Egg, potentially finding clues as to where the story will go next.
Fish's colors accentuate the eerie qualities of Blackwood. Since this largely takes place at night, there are some cool blues and dark shadows surrounding everything. What really stands out are the swirls of red and purple at the beginning of the issue that create a ghost-like quality. This is especially true of the well water that comes out like a horde of specters. I love how there are these demonic creatures hidden within the liquid.
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I was never particularly afraid of wells aside from The Ring, but Blackwood has changed that. Andy Fish's sound effects swirl around with the water as it rushes around to force the students out of the mausoleum. The words go along with the liquid, like they're riding on the wave.
The creepiness of Blackwood goes up considerably in this issue. There's something terrifying lurking behind every turn and I have no idea what to expect next. Writer Evan Dorkin is crafting a non-stop ride of horror as these students literally descend into the bowels of the school to find even more frightening artifacts. A monster dean is one thing, but that is just the start. Now we've got so much more, including a two-headed mummy monkey. I'm going to write that out again because that was a lot of fun. Two-headed mummy monkey. Let's see the Boy Who Lived do something about that.