Review - Blackout #1

"There he is!"

Fancy yourself a superhero and you get some great powers. You also get the proverbial responsibility as well, requiring that you do certain things befitting of your newfound abilities. Being able to move through a shadowy, parallel dimension makes for an even more intriguing reason to handle the abilities in Blackout #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written and lettered by Frank Barbiere and illustrated by Colin Lorimer.

Scott Travers’s special suit lets him move through our world unseen and untouchable within a shadowy parallel dimension—but he doesn’t know how the suit works or where it came from. With his benefactor missing and unfriendlies after his Blackout gear, Scott must find answers before the answers find him. There's also some corporate espionage going on behind the scene, as well as reluctant partners in crime working alongside Scott.

Blackout #1 really throws readers into the thick of things. Scott doesn't really know where the suit came from and neither does the reader, something that Barbiere uses to pretty great effect. There's an implied ability in the suit that the story relies upon in the reader, in that they don't necessarily need to know the origin of the suit to predict its powers. There's a grander plot at play beyond just dimensional hopping for the fun of it and it's something that will likely get further fleshed out down the road. The dialogue moves back and forth between readers and within Scott's head, making the book feel something like an issue of Spider-man at some points. There are definitely some similarities between the two, but Barbiere makes Scott feel sufficiently unique in his own right.

Lorimer's illustrations exhibit some photorealistic qualities. Characters' facial expressions get a lot of attention, making sure the reader fully embraces what's happening; and there's quite a bit happening. He also has a pretty good handle on human kinetics, as the characters feel as if they're moving through the pages like you're watching a video. The color palette moves back and forth between dark and light, which works very well at differentiating the two worlds for the reader. One thing that does stand out somewhat negatively is the amount of panels and dialogue bubbles. There are some pages that are extraordinarily crowded and makes the reading a little difficult, but it's not enough to distract the reader from the story.

Blackout #1 is off to a promising start. Scott seems naive enough in some regards, as he's clearly aware of the powers of the suit, but doesn't fully comprehend the responsibility that comes with it. Barbiere's script moves at a fairly brisk pace, presenting a lot of storylines in the first issue that draws the reader into what seems will be a pretty deep universe. The art by Lorimer is really done with great emphasis on the characters, which helps propel the story along in a proper fashion. Blackout #1 is poised to get even more interesting with subsequent issues and hopefully the creative team keeps things going.