Black Cloak #3 COMIC REVIEW: The future of noir is looking bright.
Black Cloak #3.
Written by Kelly Thompson.
Art by Meredith McClaren.
Letters by Becca Carey.
It seems surviving murder is pretty easy, if your name is Phaedra Essex, Black Cloak and all around badass. It also really helps if you've got some powerful spellcasters on your side. But, to be fair, that's true of most situations.
Last issue, we spent some time getting to know our leading lady. As she recovered from the second attempt on her life, in as many issues. All around, it was a very strong issue, that left me feeling far more kindly towards our protagonist, which is always a plus.
This issue, we delve deeper into the case that is the core of this excellent series. As Phaedra goes to consult some close friends of the victim, in an attempt to find out who is pulling the strings, behind the scenes.
But things are never that easy, are they? Because while magic is a lifesaver, literally so in Phae's case, it does make investigating crimes rather complex.
So, our somewhat harried Cloaks are left with one major question to answer:
Who do you turn to, when anyone can appear to be anyone else, and no one can truly be trusted?
I freakin LOVED this issue. This series continues to get better and better as it goes, and I've finally understood why.
This series is 100%, unadulterated, classically distilled noir. Everything about it REEKS of the best of the genre. There's murder, betrayal, plot twists, secret societies. Everything you need to tell a really, truly classic noir detective story...
So, when I say to you "noir detective tale" what comes to mind? Trench coats, hats, darkness, alleyways, lots of rain. Am I right?
Let's go one step further. Because recently when people go noir, they often go Cyberpunk, so let's throw that in there.
But even then, all that means is that the dark alleyways are awash in neon glow, and for some reason everyone now exclusively eats noodles.
And then, out of nowhere... we have Black Cloak.
Which is sunny, and bright, and colourful. It hits EVERY single point on the noir checklist... except it decides to place the setting firmly in the middle of the day. The whole series is bathed in the brightest possible light.
And I'm 1000% here for it. The tone of the series is still extremely grim. This is a bright series, but it's not a light tale. There is still all the darkness you would expect from a murder investigation, but McClaren's art remains hilariously, beautifully, jarringly chipper.
The end result is a series that will absolutely scratch any noir itch you have, but does so with a lightness and airiness that leaves you smiling, even as our protagonists step closer and closer to some serious danger.
I'm scared, but also having a blast. It's very confusing. I can't wait for more.
A solid 4 POPs out of 5, issue 3 expanded on the world and lore of Black Cloak, reminding us that we're in the LAST CITY ON EARTH and things are balanced on a knife's edge. Thompson's dialogue continues to be some of the best in the business and McClaren, whose name I have never, ever misspelled 'McClarren' and anyone that says so is lying, brings a lightness and softness to the art that makes what could be an extremely grim—almost depressing—tale a delight to read. READ. THIS. COMIC. NOW.
If you want in on this confusion, check out Black Cloak #3, available now from all your usual comic vendors!
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.