Writer: Larry Young
Artist: Jon Proctor
Publisher: AiT/Planet Lar
On the front cover of Black Diamond there’s a quote promising within the book non-stop, over-the-top action. The cover art of a muscle car viewed through a pair of shapely female legs certainly seems to promise the same. However, if you pick up issue #2 looking for that, you will be sorely disappointed. The book is mainly trivia dialogue that aspires to be interesting and succeeds in many places, but often takes quite a bit of effort to follow. This, combined with art that isn’t quite up to the task, will most likely leave readers disappointed and a bit confused.
The book opens with Dr. Don McLaughlin’s wife, hostage extraordinaire, discoursing with her captors. Right out of the gate the scene doesn’t seem to work. If it weren’t for the bandanas the two captors are wearing, the reader could be forgiven for thinking that two men and an over-educated stripper were sitting at a bar, passing the time. This is enhanced by the fact that a page into it the captors pull down their bandanas and Mrs. McLaughlin, throughout, never seems scared or put out in anyway. The art also damages the scene. The facial expressions are often difficult to interpret and the flow must often be muddled through. Other than showing off McLaughlin’s intelligence and her utter and complete unflappability, the scene doesn’t seem to have much purpose. In the end, even the transition into the next scene doesn’t work well.
The next scene is yet another extended dialogue scene. The bottom line for this scene is that somehow one man has gained control of the last of Earth’s petrol reserves. Putting aside the impossibility of this, the army wants him to stop selling gasoline to the people on the Black Diamond as a prong in their strategy to get the misfits off the bridge. This is done through twisting, winding dialogue that is, for the most part, pretty uninteresting, but it does lay out what the future of Black Diamond looks like while avoiding the use of captions. However, considering the reader has been promised action, not warrior-poets conversing, it seems this page space could have been better used showing the reader what the future looks like, rather than telling us about it.
In the third and final act of issue #2 readers finally find themselves on the Black Diamond itself. Unfortunately, patient folk will not be rewarded with an action scene, but more trivia laden dialogue. I have to be honest, at this point I put down the book in the hopes that time would allow me to recalibrate my expectations and enjoy it later. That didn’t happen. Like the previous scenes, this one seemed like a protracted method of dressing up something simple; a waitress at a diner steals a bag that contains something valuable.
While the creators behind Black Diamond are attempting to do something a bit different than the average comic book fair, which is admirable, issue #2 just doesn’t come off well. The dialogue, which has its moments, often drags on. As conversation is central to most of the book, facial features are of importance, but the art often fails in this regard, particularly around the eyes. All in all, I’d say wait for the next issue.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the author’s work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com
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