My name is André Habet, and I had no idea that this was the last issue of Black Market. Regardles of my ignorance though, I’m glad that Frank J Barberie and Victor Santos decided to end things here. What started off as an interesting premise quickly lost steam due a mixture of unsympathetic characters all-around, excluding the too cool for this comic Tiger Man from last issue, and confusing plotting. This issue picks up with Ray and his brother Denny, along with their muscle ex-hero Bruiser, as they prepare for a bank robbery to attract the attention of Ultra, an alpha-level super who the main characters blame for their recent problems. In an early page that’s laughable thanks to its self-seriousness, the brothers, dressed in black and sporting automatic weapons, flank Bruiser who’s back in his old duds for one last hurrah.
After that, the comic starts its shtick of jumping back and forth in time, this time focusing on Ray’s discovery of super blood’s healing properties, which turns out to have occurred prior to his brother having approached with the proposition to work with Biochem in the first issue. This could have made for a very compelling turn that put the entire comic in a new light, but I don’t know how as a reader I was expected to remember the dates of different events between issues in order to appreciate the story’s plot development. By the time the comic’s final twist came about, I just couldn’t care. What ought to have been a jaw-dropping moment, evoked little more than a huh?
Part of me feels like Barberie saw this comic as his Breaking Bad with Ray easily fitting the role of Walter White, a too smart for his job guy who slowly descends into darkness (the comparisons extend further than that: Jesse=Denny, =Walter Jr x Skylar =sick wife). The biggest issue when considering this comic in light of something like BB is that unlike Walter, Ray never gained much empathy from me in the first issue. Additionally, the final few pages of exposition reveal that any empathy he had gained was entirely undeserved. Ray goes from being an unexciting schmuck to an uninteresting asshole, and that just didn’t make for a good read for me.
Writer: Frank J Barberie Artist: Victor Santos Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/8/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital