Titan Comics 2016
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Dennis Calero
Lettered by Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
The fateful day that would change China forever has arrived, as General Chiang Kai-Shek’s army arrives in the city of Shanghai. Blood runs in the streets, and all who can seek shelter... Black Cross has finally discovered the source of the corruption in the Templar Order, but before he can restore balance, his own past actions come back to haunt him…
This has been an amazing arc of this series. Fred has such a great mind for storytelling and being able to flesh out characters and mixing in real historical events and put this order into it in a way that makes you believe it actually was a part of it. Forget conspiracy theory for a moment and think that if organisations actually exist to do this kind of thing how the scope of the world has been shaped. It’s this ability Fred gives the reader to really imagine a world where this is capable of happening that makes this so enjoyable.
As the Black Cross learns more than he bargained for and that his newfound friend, the son of the man he killed, is in danger his priorities change. But it is enough? He’s an agent following orders right and we’ve seen so often through the years that excuse, i’m doing what i’m told, so that once he learns more would he change? Perhaps we’ll never know or we could find out should we see more of him in the next arc. The implications of what he learns here however are monumental.
Dennis’ interiors are incredible and go with this story so well. They give it that old pulp quality that puts the Black Cross right up there with The Shadow in my opinion. His eye for storytelling, the use of page layouts and the way he uses shadows and light really have such a great effect on me as a reader. The flow is perfectly suited and it has that inescapable way of drawing you into the world and making you not want to leave.
That this is so much different than it’s sister title is greatly appreciated. The more mysterious and behind the scenes approach that it takes really delves into the history behind the Black Cross and those who pull his strings without ever really revealing much. Yet we’re riveted to the action and our minds create scenarios and circumstances to fill the gaps making it truly an interactive story. It also does a great job of showing us the scope of the organisation and that the Black Cross is as disposable and replaceable when a new one is either needed through death or too old to carry on. Though let’s think about it i’m sure the latter doesn’t happen.
The ending of this issue was great to showcase that even with all it’s resources they still don’t know everything not even the fate of the Black Cross. The technology they use to see the memories of Darius and Albie only get them so far and that they have it just leads to more questions. It’s a vicious cycle of reveal a little garner more interest and intrigue and leave us with more questions than we started with. Then again that’s why this book is so good.