Marvel Comics' Black Bolt title launched as part of “ResurrXion,” bringing the Inhumans’ silent king into his own series for the first time. And after a harrowing escape from a psychic prison full of ancient secrets, Black Bolt will come back to Earth as part of “Legacy” to answer for his absence – and for what happened to his people while he was gone.
Black Bolt’s original creative team of writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Christian Ward are sticking around as “Legacy” brings Black Bolt back to center of the Marvel U - Earth. But according to the creators, that doesn’t mean they’ll be leaving the spacey weirdness of the first arc behind – or slowing down on the influx of big ideas they’ve brought to Black Bolt’s world.
With Black Bolt’s “Legacy” plans revealed, Newsarama spoke with Ahmed and Ward about their plans to honor the history of Black Bolt and the Inhumans without losing sight of the new additions - and distinct style - they’ve developed so far.
Newsarama: Saladin and Christian, what does “Legacy” mean for Black Bolt, both as a character and as a title? And for you as creators?
Saladin Ahmed: For me, the notion of “Legacy” is something I've been working with/against from the get with this book. Bolt is a sort of raw, uncut Lee/Kirby creation and I've been trying to honor and pay homage to their legacy in writing his story. But innovation is a big part of that early Marvel legacy, so to my mind honoring that lineage means more than just aping it.
Christian Ward: For me being part of “Legacy” and working on Black Bolt is huge! I learned to draw (and read!) from copying Marvel comics and being a Marvel artist is without any exaggeration a dream come true. So the enormity of working with Saladin and drawing this character who was created by arguably the two greatest superhero comic creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, isn't lost on me. “Legacy” is all about honoring those that have come before us while trying to take a character some place new and that’s exactly what we're trying to do with Black Bolt.
Nrama: You made started Black Bolt by taking the silent king to the stars – but in “Legacy” he’s coming down to Earth. What’s waiting for him when he gets there?
Ahmed: Prison tends to affect peoples’ perspectives even after they're out, and Bolt is no exception. A big part of his return to Earth will be dealing with fallout from his time locked up. But also he'll be contending with his personal “legacy” of the past few years - things he had lots of time to think about in prison.
Nrama: What is Black Bolt going to do when he gets his hands on Maximus, who caused Black Bolt to end up in space jail to begin with?
Ahmed: Who said he gets his hands on Maximus? Maximus is wily.
Nrama: Before we even get to “Legacy,” Black Bolt still has to overcome the Jailer and free his friends. Are any of the supporting cast – Absorbing Man, Blinky, Metal Master, and Raava – going to stick around?
Ahmed: Yes. But who? That would be telling.
Nrama: Whether he’s around going into “Legacy” or not, will we see Absorbing Man get to reunite with Titania? (And of course, the subtext is – can we please have more Titania?)
Ahmed: Without giving too much away: Yes, you can have more Titania!
Nrama: For both of you, after making Absorbing Man a surprisingly compelling co-star, is there another Marvel character – villain, or Inhuman, or not – that you want to give that treatment to next?
Ahmed: Yes! Several. But I'm afraid y'all will have to wait and see...
Ward: I'm not sure it'd be right to see him again in Black Bolt but it was a blast to feature Death's Head in issue #3 and I'd love to do more with him.
Nrama: Black Bolt is going to have to answer for some things because of what happened to the Inhumans in Secret Empire. What is that going to do to the already tenuous relationship Black Bolt has with the Marvel Universe?
Ahmed: This stuff is really going to come to a boiling point this arc, and “Legacy” is the perfect theme for the story. Bolt is a legendary power broker from an ancient people. He has been involved in massive plots and machinations over the years, schemes that saved lives, yes, but also ruined and destroyed lives. From the Terrigen mists to his own family drama, he's got a lot to answer for. That “trial” begins literally the moment he touches ground on Earth, as we'll see in issue 8.
Nrama: Christian, you brought the power cosmic to virtually every panel of the first arc of Black Bolt. How will you maintain that aesthetic when you come back to Earth? What are you most excited to draw when you return to the title with Black Bolt #8?
Ward: I'm looking forward to the challenge of comic back down to Earth with my art and giving the second arc a different flavor - and maybe showing a side of my work not seen before. That said, there's still going to be lots of moments of cosmic power and then there'll be the fun of bringing the weirdness of Attilan to life. Additionally I'm looking forward to drawing Earth through Blinky's eyes. This is a world that is alien to her and that'll be the way I approach it. It'll give me more freedom to present New York in an unusual way - exaggerating graffiti (which will be a way of introducing touches and winks to Kirby), subverting New York architecture and bringing the strange to the forefront.
Nrama: Saladin, the fantasy elements in the first arc were apparent, with Black Bolt gathering his party, everyone fulfilling an archetypal role to overcome a series of challenges. How will that same level of classic intrigue with a superhero twist come through in the “Legacy” arc?
Ahmed: As we move from space prison to Earth, some of the book's tropes and “furniture” will swerve back in the direction of four-color comics. But also we'll zoom in a bit on Bolt, learning more about him. The book's first arc had a lot to do with Bolt learning to understand others. Now he's learning to understand himself- while super-powerful beings are trying to kill him, of course.
Nrama: For both of you, what’s your favorite thing coming up in Black Bolt that we haven’t seen yet?
Ahmed: A couple of speeches by Top Secret guest stars...
Ward: Black Bolt boiling an egg and a big bad end of game boss we've not seen yet.
Here’s the full solicitation for Black Bolt #8, on shelves this December.
Black Bolt #8
The Midnight King Returns To Earth Part 1
Saladin Ahmed / Christian Ward
Cover by Christian Ward
After months off-world, the former Inhuman King Black Bolt returns to Earth to find judgment awaiting him. In his absence, the Inhumans were rounded up, imprisoned and now struggle to maintain their fragile democracy. But someone must pay the price for the horrors they’ve endured. Will Black Bolt survive his people’s wrath?