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‘Black Market’ #1 – A good start with an interesting premise

‘Black Market’ #1 – A good start with an interesting premise


Black Market #1
Written by Frank J. Barbiere
Art by Victor Santos
Published by Boom! Studios

Black Market is a comic book with an interesting premise. Superhuman DNA is extremely valuable, and a few people are making a living by stealing it right out of the superheroes. The artwork has a charming retro feel to it, along with the design of the superheroes, and the book’s first issue promises a good story in subsequent installments.

The comic jumps back and forth over a several month period. In this world, superheroes have been around for close to ten years, downloadand their abilities have allowed them to effectively eradicate crime. Raymond Willis is a former medical examiner for the NYPD now forced to work as a mortician. This career change has hurt his ability to care for his sick wife, Shannon. His brother Denny, who was implied to have him cost him his job, shows up at his apartment with a duffel bag full of cash. How did he get it? He’s working for a company that works with superhuman DNA, and Denny tells Ray that the cures could be useful for Shannon. Tempted by the offer, Ray helps Denny kidnap Hotspot, a pyrokinetic hero.

There’s something interesting about a superhero comic in which the protagonists are basically ordinary criminals without any abilities of their own. Denny claims that what they’re doing is legal and that the company is sanctioned by the government, but kidnapping superheroes to drain them of their blood isn’t exactly the most ethical decision. We only get a tease of the full extent of their activities, but it will be interesting to see in subsequent issues how Raymond feels about what they’re doing, as well as Denny.

BlackMarket01_PRESS-7I really liked the art style for this issue as well. There’s something reminiscent about Steve Ditko’s style in the way that the characters are drawn and the way that they express themselves. However, Victor Santos includes a lot more shadow and darkness to frame people’s faces, perhaps to suggest the morally questionable activities they’ve drawn themselves into.

That’s unfortunately all I have to say about this comic. First issues usually offer a great deal of promise that will need to be delivered upon, so there’s not much to comment on in this comic book yet. Based on this first issue, I will be looking forward to the next part of the story.