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Blackwood: The Mourning After #1 Review

4 min read
I’m excited to see where this run goes and am just thrilled to have them back.

College gets weirder.

Creative Staff:
Story: Evan Dorkin
Art: Veronica Fish & Andy Fish
Letterer: Greg McKenna

What They Say:
Evan Dorkin! The next chapter of the hit occult fantasy series Blackwood, from Eisner Award–winning Evan Dorkin (Beasts of Burden) and the powerhouse art team of Veronica and Andy Fish. Blackwood College is in mourning after the death of Dean Ogden, unaware there’s a traitor in their midst looking to bury the entire school. Meanwhile, the students continue to deal with Dennis’s death, a situation that Reiko not only refuses to accept but plans to rectify. Will mayhem ensue? Duh. A continuation of the hit occult fantasy series. Perfect for Harrow County and Beasts of Burden fans!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The four-issue miniseries we had back in 2018 was a lot of fun as Evan Dorkin introduced us to this world. With Veronica and Andy Fish handling the artwork duties, we got a clear and distinctive world to take in that was pretty enjoyable and engaging with all its weirdness that then went crazy nuts. It was a rare series where I felt frustrated by the end of it that there wasn’t more since it was just four issues and most other Dark Horse series run five or six. Leave ‘em wanting more isn’t a bad thing and while it took a couple of years to get back on track, we’re finally back on track with this story to see what comes next.

After the chaos of the first series, we now have a lot of former faculty and guests crashing at the campus and a lot of figuring out to do. There are a few interesting folks that are along the alumni style track that can make an impact here but at its core we have the main faculty, some who aren’t thrilled that Russell is now the acting dean. Most notably, this comes from Professor Montlake as he believes he was the one best suited for the position. Seeing how badly things have gone, and with him and others discovering what Book was used and that it’s disappeared, it sets them in motion to figure out how to get the book and to try and correct things. And they’re a bit limited on time as the campus was left in bad shape by Dean Ogden and there are other outside forces coming to give them a once-over to ensure that they’re not revealing themselves to the public.

There’s a lot covered in that and with the background of some like Montlake so that we understand where they’re coming from. For us, the kids that got caught up in it are largely aligned with Russell at the moment because he offers consistency. And Montlake just looks dangerous and unfriendly. The book lets them try to get a handle on magic, even just saying the word, and what they may be able to do with it. They’re not all just leaping into going big and doing crazy spells which is welcome as they’re tentative and uncertain. But they also have an epiphany along the way that they might be able to help dear departed Dennis with magic to bring him back to life. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out but it was mostly welcome just to have the kids off by themselves for a bit, drinking and joking, bonding in a way that they even laugh and call themselves out over.

In Summary:
I quite enjoyed the original Blackwood series but it took a couple of big swings toward the end and then ended what felt like short. So getting more is welcome but there’s a period of reconnect since it’s been about 18 months between installments. The team makes this feel seamless but it’ll take a bit to really get back into the groove. It’s definitely expanding and going bigger here and it doesn’t feel like we’re just going to repeat what we had before which is another plus. I’m excited to see where this run goes and am just thrilled to have them back.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 12th, 2018
MSRP: $3.99

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