Publisher: Image Comics

Written by Kelly Thompson

Art by Meredith McClaren

Letters by Becca Carey

Black Cloak very much benefited from a double length first issue. That means that this second issue can take up from the cliffhanger and really gives us some exposition that doesn’t take away from the world building but nicely fills in the gaps. We don’t get all the answers but things start to coalesce. We get more about Phaedra and her background with the victim, more about the inhabitants of the world and clues about the murder itself. There’s a lot packed in.

The cliffhanger of the first issue left Phaedra stabbed, seemingly fatally. Yet she wakes up in the morgue with no ill effects. The reason links to her heritage, she’s half dracona which must be kept a secret. Already we’re getting hints that the various beings perhaps don’t get along or don’t think they should. There’s a lot at stake for Phaedra’s family should the truth come out and whilst Nida, her lover wants the truth to come out Phaedra can’t risk her family like that.

Aside front the revelation that Phaedra is not all she appears there’s also flashbacks of her and Freyal. Clearly they cared about each other a lot, young Phaedra was very keen to marry him. So what changed? My guess is we will find out more in further flashbacks. It’s been good tracing the relationship like this without too much being given away at any one time.

I also love the colouring of the flashbacks. The various shades of green and purple keep it simple but also quite fresh. It has that spring like quality of youth and first love being conveyed with the colouring alone. It’s a good contrast. The characters are recognisable but do look younger.

The rest of the art is fine too. There are some shading choices and colour choices in the scenes with Phaedra and Nida in the morgue I don’t quite get. At times Phaedra seems to go a green grey colour and I can’t work out if it’s meant to be shadow or a hint to her heritage. Some of the expressions Phaedra has in the interview scenes also throw me off a bit.

Other than those minor nitpicks I enjoy the art. I like the flashbacks and there’s a nice panel of Pax and Phaedra looking at the clue board (I’m sure those things have a better name) and the choice of angle, colouring and positioning of the clues is really good. Likewise the character designs of the various witnesses are effective from a flaming skeleton, a barbarian type, a fairy and the cloud like being Romu all are well realised and interesting looking.

I like how Black Cloak mixes in those excellent procedural tropes. Pax (we learn his first name is Theron) is the classic snarky yet supportive partner. We see that clue board. We seeing a parade of witness interviews. It’s all classic police related story stuff but it works and works within a fantasy world. Even though Phaedra’s past is fantastical even that plays on ideas of investigators and painful pasts.

The ending seems to set up something further with humans brought I to the mix with more on the political shenanigans lending a slight thriller air to proceedings as well. Weaving in real world type tropes with fantasy is not always easy but the previous world building very much helps everything feel natural.

This is a solid second issue with a lot of highlights. I enjoyed learning more about Phaedra, more clues in the murder case and the hints of further intrigue. Black Cloak is shaping up to be a solid mystery in a fantasy setting book with an interesting central protagonist. I want more of Pax and Nida, more flashbacks and more clues but I’m confident based on this second issue that we’ll get that and more.

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