Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Bin Fodder. I’m spotlighting a Dark Horse book this week called The Blackburne Covenant, written by Fabian Nicieza with art by Stefano Raffaele. Stefano has a pretty cool blog with a lot of random pieces of his art but, unless you can read Spanish, you’re going to be out of luck for the actual blog part of it.
If a comic book could be compared to an acid trip, The Blackburne Covenant would be the book to do it with. I say this never having taken acid, but if television and movies have taught me anything…and I truly believe they have…then I’m right about this. Those acid trippers among the reading body feel free to read the book and leave a comment if I’m right on or not. Thanks.
The story follows one main character, Richard Kaine. Kaine’s an “author,” but in the same way that Andrew Johnson was President of the United States (history joke for all you nerds out there). To set the table: Kaine writes a bestseller about a witch that convenes with the Earth through an astral plane called The Greenway which, much the same as in my last article, is something that no one in the Interweb has taken the time to define so I will do so for you. The Greenway is essentially the plane of existence where all things within and upon the Earth are connected and through which certain persons can wield exceptional power.
Kaine’s “book” stars Talinada, the most powerful witch on Earth who fights against the evil of her age only to give herself up, “Because it isn’t time yet…for Gaia to rise. And for you to die.” This she ever-so-bravely said to the evil Beau d’Habsbourg Autriche, an apparently integral player in the story who is mentioned all of once, right before he has her killed.
Relatively early on in the story very strange things start to happen to Kaine. He begins to hallucinate and even possesses unbeknownst-to-him fighting abilities when attacked by a stranger wearing armor bearing a crest he “invented” for his book. As it is implied that he is prone to do, Kaine turns to alcohol to solve his problems. This only results in him getting framed for murder and arson by a secret organization which has existed for hundreds of years and is apparently bent on world domination (though none of that is really explored or explained in any depth whatsoever).
The big plot twist in the story is that Kaine is in fact Talinada reincarnated. Her spirit dwells within him. It was her essence that created the seeds of the story in his mind which allowed him to write the book. And it’s not just her spirit he carries with him, it is all her powers and abilities to utilize The Greenway, which somewhat explains all the crazy acid trip scenes from the early parts of the book.
The redeeming part of The Blackburne Covenant is Raffaele’s artwork. His shading and grittiness helps define the characters and the backgrounds boldly so they don’t get lost in one another. The scenes involving the sub-plot or “the book” are intensely different than the main story. They’re more jaded and emblazoned with a harsh yellow tint.
Nicieza really is a good writer. The fact that he’s written issues of Batman, X-Men, Cable, Daredevil, et al, tells you that he is a respected writer in the comic book industry. And this story was actually recommended to me by someone who has extremely good taste in comics, but to be honest it was a story filled with plot-holes and unnecessary pages.
So for the first, and probably not the last, this is a book I’m not giving a good rating to…oh yeah, did I mention I’m instituting a rating system from now on? Sorry. This book gets (out of a possible 5).
Until next time,
This is Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off!