Nina Is Back With A Vengeance In Blackbird #4

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Blackbird #4 is rated mature because it swears and so do we in this article. We also spoiled a lot of important information in this review. We are sorry in advance, but we couldn’t talk about all of the best things without spoiling it. This is a forewarning, if you keep reading, you might get a spoil or two or three. We can’t promise how many it will be. Thank you and have fun readin’!

We reviewed the first three issues from Blackbird under Image Comics. If you thought we weren’t reliable, this is an indication that we must adore this series to keep reviewing each issue that comes out. (Spoiler alert, we do, we really love this series!) If you have yet to read our first three reviews, click here, here, and here to check them out.

Nonetheless, we won’t go over what the series is about, by the fourth issue, you should know. You can always check out Image’s website for the official synopsis if not. Blackbird #4 is by Jen Bartel and Sam Humphries. (The layout artist is Paul Reinwand, the colorist is Triona Farrell, the letterer is Jodi Wynne, and the designer is Dylan Todd.)

Cliffhangers Lead To More Cliffhangers In Blackbird #4

After the previous issue, Blackbird #3, we were left on a cliffhanger. A consequential one at that. Nina’s mother was, in fact, alive and has been for years since her car accident. This was an unexpected revelation for Nina, of course, but as a reader, I have to admit we were shaken just the same. Her mother, Gloria, is alive and a goddess — not just a goddess, but she’s THE great beast. You know the biggest and baddest beast of Paradragons? Yeah, Gloria is that. This leaves two questions in the reader’s mind, “What the hell is this place and how do I get one?”

Blackbird #4 (2019) | Image Comics, Humphries & Bartel

By Blackbird #4 we are able to get a good grasp of the lingo being used as well. When Nina talks about the cabals along with her mom, Gloria, and Clint’s father, Carter — we can follow along for the most part without being confused. However, Bartel and Humphries have done an excellent job keeping us in the loop and defining terms when necessary. That is an aspect I cherish about this series since it is science fiction (mythological in a way too) there are a few terms we don’t know. The terms may mean something different in the Blackbird lore, so it’s nice to be able to stay on course with them all. Because of Nina, though, I can easily teach a class on this, no problem.

Did You Know The Cabals Exist In L.A.?

For a quick rundown, Paradragons are trying to take over certain areas of L.A. (kind of like Monopoly). Throughout L.A. there are four cabals, the main cabal that everyone wants is Hollywood Territory (the land of the famous), but there is a treaty that currently protects it. Gloria, however, is the head of the Iridium Cabal. It is to be assumed that Carter, her next-door neighbor, must run Zon Cabal (considering Clint is basically a walking Fashion Week wannabe; Nina said it, not me!) What we do know is that Marisa is still missing, and we have no clue where she is — Gloria either knows where she is, or doesn’t care. I guess we will have to wait to find out. I am assuming that she is with her mother, however; but that revelation will be disastrous for Nina, since Marisa never even believed in magic, and Nina did.

Who Are These Paradragons?

Throughout all of this, I feel bad for Nina. She has had a bad go at life and suddenly finds out that her mother has been alive this entire time; it’s not a great feeling I would imagine. However, what I love about this story so far is the aspect of Paradragon versus “the normies” (normal human beings). In Blackbird #4, we get a glimpse of these beautiful creatures. Not just the way they look, but how beautiful everything they own and touch is. Their children, where they live, their attire; all of it. We meet a police officer — who is basically Mulder — and she gives us insight into the Paradragons. All of the ‘people’ who are Paradragons have died in some way years ago.

Blackbird #4 (2019) | Image Comics, Humphries & Bartel

Does this mean they are murdering people? Are they choosing people who ‘die’ or are they pretending they ‘die’ and then take them off of Earth to run their Paradragon lives? Who knows, I sure want to, though. This will soon enough make sense and we can’t wait for it. The premise of this series is getting good.

Stellar Writing & Art In Blackbird #4

What makes this issue our favorite in the entire series is Nina. She is finally coming into her own, and with Sam Humphries’ outstanding assistance with the writing, she truly leaves the reader shocked at that Blackbird #4 ending. At least we were. Nina, by the end of this issue, has truly come into her own, and I can’t wait to see what well-deserved havoc she does next. A character like Nina is easily one of my favorite main characters of any comic series right now.

I love her willingness to be strong and positively not give a damn what people say. While sometimes she does, she doesn’t let it fester for long and I love it. Many people can relate to Nina because some may feel like a black sheep, out of character child, in their family. Nina gives us hope in a lot of ways. Through her, some might find a faith that they can find answers and be the same.

Blackbird #4 (2019) | Image Comics, Humphries & Bartel

As per usual, the art is just stunning. Jen Bartel continues to do such outstanding work in this series that we wouldn’t and couldn’t ask for a better artist in Blackbird #4. Nina has a great style, which we want to copy so badly, and everything looks so elegant. That is to be expected because the Paradragon world is meant to be grand and something you can’t achieve. Something that you have to work hard to obtain or believe hard enough that you want to achieve it. Only Jen can achieve that gorgeousness that Blackbird speaks of. Wow. We are in such reverence every time we open this series to see magnificent writing and art.

Nina For Vice President?!

If you didn’t know Nina by Blackbird #4, you do now. By the last page in this issue, we get a glimpse into how badass Nina can be. I was silently rooting for her when she wreaked havoc in her mom’s cabal, and it is now my inspiration for all of 2019. The last six pages of Blackbird #4 are going to be me in 2019. If you don’t know what I mean yet, read it and let’s talk about it. A huge shout out and thank you to Triona Farrell and Jodi Wynne for coloring and lettering this issue again. Such beautiful work and such a great team behind it, thank all of you for making one of my favorite comics ever.

Blackbird #4 (2019) | Image Comics, Humphries & Bartel
Blackbird #4 (2019) | Image Comics, Humphries & Bartel

I also forgive you (Humphries) for making Clint and Nina almost-kiss; it all makes sense now and I don’t hate it anymore. (See Blackbird #3.) It was all for a bigger cause, but how can one family look that good all the time? Carter? Clint? Nina? Gloria? Can I get the secret?

Nina's mother is alive, Clint's dad is here, and where the heck is Marisa? This and more in Blackbird #4 by @samhumphries and @heyjenbartel (@treestumped) under @ImageComics.