Review: Black Bolt #1 Promises A Fine New Series

The new Black Bolt comic from Marvel is finally here, and it’s pretty great.

Written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Christian Ward, Issue #1 kicks the series off into a strangely lit, dark direction. I’ve been a fan of Ahmed’s writing ever since I picked up his novel Throne of the Crescent Moon, during one of my “read all the Hugo nominees” phases, and I’ve been looking forward to this book for months. It was worth the wait.

Black Bolt #1 feels like the start of a big, mythic story about escaping a strange Underworld. Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, has woken up in a prison thanks to the schemes of his mad brother, Maximus. I love stories with chthonic themes, so this was a happy surprise.

The exposition at the beginning of the story plays with poetic devices, reading almost like song lyrics (very metal lyrics), using a repeating mechanism as Black Bolt slowly regains awareness.

He is a king but he walks in filth and darkness…

He is a king, but he wakes in filth and agony…

Black Bolt wakes in filth.

The sequence is pleasantly disturbing, Ahmed’s words laid over Christian Ward’s art, a psychedelic nightmare outlined in creeping pink lines.

This new book promises to be weird and disturbing and a damn good read. I want more. 

New trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes!

bipedal apes riding horses through the snow - war for the planet of hte apes

The new trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes dropped this morning!  It looks like we’re getting a damn good movie.  I love this series, I love everything they’ve done.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes had me crying my eyes out, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes took post-apocalyptic tropes and turned into in a fantastic work of storytelling.  I am very much looking forward to this entry in the series.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

I found the most magnificent pillow at World Market today.

Pillow with grave robbing scene from Frankenstein
That, my friends, is a throw pillow depicting the grave robbing scene in the original Frankenstein film.  October is the only time of year that I can really shop for home decor.

Our apartment is a bit of a wreck at the moment, filled to brimming with Halloween projects in progress, and bags upon bags of paper bats. I can’t believe our party is a week from tonight.

The temperature has finally dropped a bit here in Central Texas.  The mornings are crisp and the crow that winters in our neighborhood has been making a racket. 

This means that the time of baking experimental casseroles is again upon us.  The inaugural event was last night, utterly destroying my kitchen for the sake of a rather bland attempt at cheese sauce that desperately needed both salt and a completely different recipe.  I call it Vegetable Mac & Cheese of Failure.

Happily, we found that a liberal dusting of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning salvaged the grayish concoction.  We will be subsisting on the casserole for most of the weekend.

Veggie mac and cheese
Tonight we are heading to SCARE for a Cure, one of the best haunted houses in Texas.  It’s a fantastic haunt; nearly an hour long walk through of a scripted story that involves puzzle rooms, sacrificing someone in your group, and (hopefully) defeating the boss at the end.  It’s a Halloween tradition, we go every October.  And we always get covered in stage blood.

Tomorrow is a Halloween party prop-building work day; we lure people in with promises of pizza, then give them cardboard, paint, and vague instructions.  Cityscapes are not a fast build. Nor is an atmospheric representation of the Adam West Bat Cave.

If you need some Halloween horror in your reading queue this week, I recommend any of Thomas Ligotti’s short stories. I recently picked up Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe, anthologies of his works in the 1980’s. Imagine someone who consumed Lovecraft as an influence, and then surpassed him. Lovely, twisted stuff.

I’m going to read another of his stories before we head out to the haunt.  Right here on the couch with my amazing new pillow.

Weird Weekend Reading: Cyberpunk Prophecies Gradually Coming True


Friday has arrived, suspiciously perky and bragging of having overcome a serious coffee addiction. I don’t trust this Friday.

This week, science is throwing all kinds of crazy stuff at us, from virus existing inside the human genome to several different early technologies that may wire us all up to the matrix. Also, the stars seem to be aligning just right to wake up the dread lord Cthulhu!

  1. Ancient otter-like marine bear thing had jaws like a sabertooth cat
  2. Injectable brain implants are probably the real dawn of biointegration, neurotech, and the cyberpunk future we’ve all been waiting for.
  3. Radioactive wild boars are rampaging through the areas surrounding Fukushima.
  4. All these black holes out in deep space are pointing the same direction.
  5. Scientists have developed a synthetic tissue that will eventually be able to sync up to real tissue, and can be controlled with light pulses. More cyberpunk dystopia!
  6. One of the creepiest and coolest biology discoveries in recent years is horizontal gene flow. This is where organisms of different species or even forms of life are exchanging chunks of DNA without sexual reproduction. Scientists recently found something disturbing in the Human Genome, possibly a relic from the ancient world, where an ancient virus managed to insert its entire genome into our genome, where it has existed for a very, very long time.
  7. Scientists are much closer to dreams of growing new body parts, or even performing basic tissue repair, using stem cell technology. A new technique overcomes several limitations that have been standing in the way of using stem cells in such a way. Very exciting stuff.