Ain't It Cool News rides The Black Diamond.
You know what is very satisfying to comic book creators? When you slave over a story that has a pretty personal meaning to you, and the cool cats in the audience get what you all were going for:
was an ending. This issue brings Larry Young's ambitious story about fast cars, kidnapping, and danger set in a near future landscape where the government decides to build a cross-country roadway a few hundred feet in the air keeping the speeding and criminally swayed lowlifes out of the way of all of the normal folks that populate America. This story moved pretty quick. From issue to issue I found myself liking and disliking Jon Proctor's artwork. Sometimes it felt a tad sloppy. Other times, I found the guy's artistic use of iconic imagery to be astounding. In this final issue, the eye-melting pages far outweigh any I had a problem with. There are some pages that are definitely poster-worthy; they almost look like propaganda posters, with sharp lines, characters with auras, and skewed angles. Proctor definitely upped his game with this final issue as a doctor races to the finish line in order to be reunited with his kidnapped wife. Larry Young ups his game as well as the story becomes self-referential and self-conscious in the end, bringing to light the homage to 70's action movies by supplying a visible script to the intense action and wonderful final pages. The end brings a nice juxtaposition of story, art, and the craft put into making films and comics. It's one of the most original endings I've read in comics in quite a while. The Black Diamond
had a strong concept and was presented with a great eye for detail and respect for 70's action films. Along the way, I found myself steering off this road in regards to the art, but only a little bit and the final issue made up for all of that in spades."
FTW on "Best Title of a Review of The Black Diamond
: "Reading all seven issues, I found myself racing through this story, caught up in the narrative and trying to beat Doctor Don and his wife Kate to the end. Jon Proctor designs some wonderful pages, moving the story more through emotion and concepts in a few images rather than drawing out the exposition. It’s a pretty neat and gutsy shortcut that Young and Proctor take with these images.
Take the standoff of Doctor Don and the army. Doctor Don has traveled across the country to rescue his kidnapped wife. At the end. the only thing between him and her is the army. The image defines an iconic moment in terms of the story; the end of the journey and the final obstacle. The mixture of the freedom of a motorcycle and the power and threats of the guns and the tank gets across part of the dichotomy of this series– the strange romanticism of the open road darkly mirrored against the threats of the real world and military powers.
"Once Dr. Don and Kate are reunited, the story is essentially over but there’s still the militaristic story about the army cleaning up the superhighway The Black Diamond up. Up to this point, this was a regular comic with the narrative driven by art and dialogue. But once Dr. Don’s story is wrapped up, Young switches to a script format combined to finish up the story. On top of Proctor’s artwork, the script for The Black Diamond shows up for a strange voice-of-god type point of view narration. This meta-narrative, an homage to 70’s cinema, is disarming, poppy and somehow magically fits in with the hyper reality that Young and Proctor have slowly built up throughout the series.
It’s over the top and maybe it’s just the right way to end this series. From the pop trivia references in issue 1 to the voice of god narration at the end, The Black Diamond
is a celebration of over-the-top storytelling that builds an gains momentum starting with On Ramp.
So maybe the script-as-story ending is just the perfect conclusion to the series.
The Black Diamond over at Blogcritics:
"Throughout the series, Young's chatty characters indulge in periodic discussions about the nature of story (first time is in the prologue, where two mysterious Black Diamond figures discuss the two basic plots) and vocabulary, making it clear that this tribute to Deathrace 2000 cinema has a Tarantino filter to it. (There's even a "Stuck in the Middle with You" quote, Reservoir Dogs fans.) Not too surprising for a writer as dialog savvy as Young, though the richness of these sections proves to be a bit of a red herring when it comes to the mini-series' conclusion.
"Where, in fact, The Black Diamond
will likely fall down for a lot of readers is in its finale: after introducing a great secondary cast of chatty self-justifiers (including the Army mind behind the Army's 'clean-up with extreme prejudice,' General Jake Cooper), Young backs away to leave his story's big showdown off-panel. In the 70's, the primary reason to not show a full-tilt battle scene was a budgetary one, of course, though here the storytelling choice is more thematically based. This is Don and Kate's story, the writer asserts; everything else is extraneous. Still, Young does such a bang-up job with his supporting characters – right down to his Rosencrantz & Guildenstern figures – that you can't help wishing that he'd shown you how they all wind up.
"I like the pun on which he ends his story, though: a real English major's jape.
"Jon Proctor's art ('Presented in Comicscope,' each cover trumpets) contains a good amount of grunge and ill-lit moodiness, though occasionally his predilection for including more than one shot of the same character in a panel can get distracting. In its way, though, this technique can almost be seen as the comics equivalent to the flashy camera trickery that came out of split screen technology in the late sixties. Black Diamond's color background is heavily composed of oranges, yellows and greens – suitable to the story’s smog-bound setting – though when Don and Kate are finally reunited, the panels shifts to a shimmering lavender. A neat visual touch."
This one'll only be interesting for the comics folks, and not for you small but growing subset of pals checking in for more pics of Walker, but I'm quoted over at the Comic Book Galaxy blog
:"This actually doesn't impact us at all, as we don't sell books at cons that aren't already available from Diamond. We don't debut books at shows, because we're an 'evergreen' company. All of our books are awesome and will be so forever, whether you get it on Day One or Year Five. There's just no reason for us to debut books at cons.
"Sorry that's not a sexy soundbite answer, but I think we're in a different comics industry than most other folks. The Latest Outrage™ never seems to much impact us."
I'm not sure companies like ours, that keep books in print and don't compete directly with retailers are being much rewarded by them with "extra" sales, either, but, there you go. Back to our regularly-scheduled workday, already in progress.