I am a little behind in my comic book reading, having a large pile of books ordered online and delivered via snail mail; I am slowly working my way through some Captain America and Fantastic Four issues, which are now a few months old. However, I also subscribe to Marvel Unlimited, to catch those titles that I would not normally pick up and see if they are any good. Some of the comics I read via Marvel Unlimited I decide are not purchase-worthy, and then, sometimes I find a title that says to me: This is a GOOD comic book, based on the characters, the dialogue, the storyline or sometimes, just the art. Black Order #1 is one of those GOOD ones!
Black Order #1 is a comic book worth reading for all of the above reasons. You may recall that the villain group called the Black Order (also known as the Cull Obsidian) are the four powerful bad guys that tag along with Thanos in the Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame movies. In the Avengers films, the Black Order includes Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, and Cull Obsidian (Black Dwarf in the comics). They are also referred to in the movies as the Children of Thanos.
The Black Order in this comic book includes all of the above characters, plus the Black Swan, a powerful human female named Yabbat Ummon Tarru. She was a princess on Earth-1365, and is the lone survivor of her world.
NOTE: In the comics (not in the movies, from what I saw) Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight are married. In Black Order #1, they often refer to each other as “Love." Hey, even alien, murdering super-villains need a little loving now and then…
The Black Order in the 2018 Black Order Comic Series:
- Corvus Glaive
- Black Swan (1st Appearance:New Avengers #1, January 2013)
- Black Dwarf (Cull Obsidian in the Avengers movies)
- Proxima Midnight
- Ebony Maw
Ok, so why is this comic so good, in my humble opinion?
First, it features some powerful villains who, cut loose from their sugar daddy Thanos, are now working for the Grandmaster (yes, the nutty alien guy played by Jeff Goldblum in Thor: Ragnarok), who, in the comics, is one of the Elders of the Universe, and has a compulsive penchant for playing games. Imagine a guy with incredible powers and some really bad-ass villains at his beck and call playing an intergalactic game of Chess or Risk, with real worlds as the game pieces. Not a nice guy, and way more villainous than the movie version.
Anyway, the Black Order is now working for him, destabilizing the Sinnarian Empire, one planet at a time. That is just a plot device to give our bad guys someone to kill, plus make us wonder what Grandmaster is really up to. But the real joy in this comic is the dialogue and the depth of the characters we now see as they carry on conversations while committing mass murder. Ok, to be fair, they are only seen killing warriors who they are actually fighting, but still…bad guys.
Here we see the Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight talking about whether Corvus is funny. He thinks he is; his wife doesn’t think so. Makes you almost feel bad for Corvus that it seems even his wife does not really understand him. If writer Derek Landy follows this thread throughout the series, it will provide a fuller picture of Corvus as a person, and probably allow us to see more of his relationship with Proxima. Bad guys are far more interesting when their characters and their personality are more fleshed out for the reader to see who they really are.
The art, by Penciller Philip Tan, is amazing! The action sequences are dynamic, the colors, by Colorist Jay David Ramos, jump out at the reader. Thinking of the comics genre that this book should be categorized as, and thinking back to the glory days of Marvel’s “Cosmic" comic book genre, the art in Black Order reminds me a quite a bit of Jim Starlin’s work in the Captain Marvel and Warlock books (which also had strong connections the Thanos as well).
The Black Order series is one I will be following, and you should read them also, especially if your main experience with these characters is from the movies only, these comics will give you a lot more background to understand these characters.