Group Review: Blackout #1 (of 4)

Each of the participating writers/reviewers of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Dark Horse Comics before we begin: 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!

Samantha: BORROW

Blackout read like a lot of other comics I have recently picked up. It read like the beginning of The Bounce. You have a normal dude thrown into becoming a hero all because powers suddenly were thrust upon him. Scott, after receiving a package that contains a suit, decides to investigate the disappearance of a friend. The suit helps him to move about more freely. It enables the owner to access a parallel dimension. It sounds awesome, but then again reminds me of Marvel’s Spot. I was disappointed with how similar this comic was with others.

I did like some things about it, for instance the fact that Scott got dragged into wearing the suit in order to find Bob. Bob now has this mystery behind him. Why was he targeted? and Why not just make another suit instead of hunting down this particular one? Colin Lorimer’s suit design is pretty damn cool too. I would think a suit that had the ability to escape into other dimensions would look more robot like than body suit type. Lorimer gives us a very rich and rugged world to work from, so I am excited to see when Scott goes into full out dimension hopping.

All in all, the comic got a “Borrow.” It didn’t rock my socks, but being that I like the art and it is a mini-series, it was enough fun to stick around.

Dustin: BUY

I was really looking forward to this issue… it’s a soft buy for me for a couple of reasons. The first being that this issue felt like two Dark Horse Presents stories put together to form an issue. Now I liked both stories… but I signed up for Blackout. Yeah King Tiger was a fun read, but Blackout was better. It was so good that I wanted more, but instead I felt kind of shortchanged. I’ll definitely be back for the next issue, but I really hope that it’s more than just two half issues put together… but my gut says otherwise.

I will say that the art by Colin Lorimer on Blackout was a great replacement for Micah Kaneshiro on art. Lorimer crafts a wonderful looking world that is photorealistic. His coloring is has a wonderful palate that gives the book a creepy sci-fi look. In the same regard Doug Wheatley’s art on King Tiger was also photorealistic and pretty damn impressive. The final scene is stunning and shocking which was very impressive.

Blackout #1 Cover


Surprisingly, Blackout isn’t just a recap or continuation of the story that began in Dark Horse Presents last year. I mean, it is, but it also includes (quite oddly, I thought) a story called “King Tiger” (another DHP-alumnus, I assume) tacked onto the end. As for Blackout itself, I remember thinking back in DHP that it looked pretty cool, but never got the chance to follow it regularly. I’m a sucker for this power set; a mix between Marvel’s The Spot and The Ghost. He also looks like The Guyver, so ... style points! The only thing is that this first issue throws you very hard and quite suddenly into this story.

Again, I’m not sure if this is an original run reprint or if it’s a continuation (which feels like it’s more likely the case), but either way, I felt lost here. Sure, you can piece everything together for yourself, but it was still a jumble and could have used much greater structure with a solid introduction to this world and its characters. This felt like we were already one or two issues into this run, and that’s not a good place to begin anything.

On the other hand, I really loved the art here from Colin Lorimer. From the moment that first-page, labyrinthian reality warp set the tone, to the almost rotoscopic way he is able to convey expression in his characters’ quieter moments, it’s just a great book to enjoy visually. My one bone of contention - and I guess it’s a relatively big one - is the manifestation of Blackout’s powers. Lorimer is clearly able to do great work, and I just think that his hairy holes (get your mind out of the gutter) look surprisingly lackluster by comparison to his other stuff here. Still, his action (in both dimensions) is great to watch.

“King Tiger” was an interesting follow-up that I’d define as mostly harmless so far, and a good setup of things to come for anyone who is into supernatural cross-dimension fights in what looks like a mix between Doctor Strange and The Karate Kid. It was a bit mouthy at times, but the art here is even better than in Blackout proper, boasting a detailed, almost painterly quality that reminded me of Carlos Magno’s hyper-textured work, though a bit more reserved. Fucking beautiful stuff, nonetheless, and I’m definitely going to start paying much more attention to Doug Wheatley from now on after this!

I’m giving this one a Borrow because while being lost, I still had a good time reading through these stories. I think it will be better as a collected volume with preceding materials involved, but I’ll still follow it for a while to see what, if any, sense it makes.

Score: 2 Borrows and a Buy

Writer: Frank Barbiere Artist: Colin Lorimer

Writer: Randy Stradley Artist: Doug Wheatley

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 3/26/14