Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Black Fire Review
Graphic novels are an interesting bunch. They aren't comics, they are novels told with comic visuals. Black Fire is a pretty good example of a graphic novel. It's pretty long, and has a lot of backstory. Usually there aren't much details about graphic novels before they're released. So going into Black Fire, a graphic novel from Archaia Entertainment due for release tomorrow on the 28th, I didn't know what to expect. It looked like a gothic horror tale. It is that, but has quite a few surprises.
The story follows two soldiers who get separated from their unit in the cold, dreadful Winter. They are pursued by the Cossacks, but the ladder gives up once the two enter a strange town. They are greeted by a man who lets them into a building. Inside are survivors, the rest of the village had apparently been wiped out. It is a ghost town, haunted by a dark god.......
This graphic novel is pretty much the complete opposite of the last one I read, Everlast. Whereas that one was constantly on the move, this one is slower paced. It takes its time to develop the story. It doesn't get dull thankfully, the story is too interesting to get dull. It will engage you from the start. You know what the story reminded me of? John Carpenter's The Thing. The atmosphere of Black Fire is very similar to that of The Thing. You never know what's going to happen, there's something lurking in the background, and you never know what it'll do next. The fact that it takes place in the cold is also reminiscent of The Thing.
This being more of a slow paced story rather than the fast-paced-summer-blockbuster-feel of Everlast, the book relies on two main things: The characters and plot. Talking about the characters, they're good for the story. Nothing special, the only one out of the humans that stood out was Joaquim Do Santos, an apostle of Czernobog, the dark god. The only woman in the book, Julia, was an interesting addition. The two soldiers were good, easy to root for. It's the actual plot, however, that makes the book worth buying. At first, it feels like a war tale, but it slowly becomes fantasy gothic survival story. The good part is that it still retains a certain realism to it. There's a lot of fascinating backstory told in the middle act, it's good stuff.
The antagonist of the story is Czernobog, (Also called Black Fire.) In his few appearances, he resembles the demon Blackheart from Marvel Comics. Truly the best character and part of the whole thing. The backstory of how he was captured in the first place was just intriguing. There are some other very interesting plot points. A monster called the Lesi is pretty awesome and its backstory with Czernobog is interesting. (And a very creepy design. But that's nothing when compared to the insanely creepy Golem you'll see later in the story.) My only criticism is the art. It fits the atmosphere well, but often it's hard to tell who's who. I found myself losing track of the who the main characters were at some parts.
Overall, Black Fire is definitely the most interesting graphic novel I've read in awhile. Very intriguing premise, which greatly executed. It's a chilling tale, you will be engaged from the start until the end. If you're looking for an original story told in comic visuals, give Black Fire a try. It's a good story.