Black Terror #1, Alex Ross CoverBlack Terror #1
Plot, Cover and Art Direction: Alex Ross
Plot and Script: Jim Krueger
Interior Art: Mike Lilly
Color: Vinicius Andrade
Letters: Simon Bowland
Covers: Alex Ross, Greg Land, John Romita Jr., Mike Lilly, Tim Sale
Black Terror #1 leaps directly out of the end of Project Superpowers #7. It’s fair to say that it would help if you had already read that book going in to this one. For its part, issue #7 brings the disparate threads of that series into a cohesive whole. I finally felt like I was reading a team book, and the art is terrific all around.
Now, spoilers on . . .
The plot here concerns the immediate aftermath of the heroes from the other book. To whit, they’ve made their presence known in a Middle Eastern intervention and have put the planet on notice that they’re watching. Naturally, this sits not well with the White House. The keystone figure here is, of course, the Black Terror; Black Terror has a long history of publication going back decades at various publishers, and he’s been refurbished through the course of the first mini and here as an archetypal badass.
Honestly, Black Terror has one motive that overrides all other concerns: he needs to find his missing partner, Tim. They were separated at the time of the heroes’ long imprisonment, and the Terror doesn’t want to rest until Tim is recovered. Of course, other concerns and antagonists keep getting in the way, and the Terror deals on those with severity.
Mike Lilly’s art is very strong throughout. He keeps the Ross/Krueger flavor of the main book, and renders some impressive action sequences. The pairing of the Black Terror (given his symbol) and the pirate sword for one critical fight is an inspired touch, and the layouts overall are fairly dynamic.
In terms of story, I do believe that you can probably suss out the important points on your own by close reading. Still, it helps a lot if you arrive here via the companion series. Inasmuch as this will cover the solo quest of Black Terror, as opposed to totally dealing with other events, you’re probably able to jump on quite capably here.
Project Superpowers and its spin-offs represent an earnest attempt to build a franchise. There’s a lot of potential in these characters. And while Black Terror seems pretty much like a Punisher-Batman mash-up at certain points, I believe that the talent of these creators will reveal undiscovered depths in the revitalized concept.