Thursday, May 25, 2023

Comics Review: "BLACK TAPE #4" Wraps Up with a Hellified Listening Party


STORY: Dan Panosian
ART: Dalibor Talajić
COLORS: Ive Svorcina
LETTERS: Steve Wands
COVER: Dan Panosian
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Cary Nord; Chris Ferguson; Dan Panosian (B&W)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (May 2023)

Rated: “Teen+”

Black Tape is a four-issue comic book miniseries from writer Dan Panosian and artist Dalibor Talajić.  Published by AWA Studios, the miniseries follows the widow of a rock'n'roll god who is dealing with her grief, even as dark forces conspire to obtain her late husband's last album, which supposedly has special powers.  Colorist Ive Svorcina and letterer Steve Wands complete the series creative team.

In Black Tape, Jack King, one of the most influential rock 'n roll musicians of all time, suddenly dies on stage.  Jack's mysterious death causes his widow, Cindy, both to grapple with grief and to ask some very important questions.  For instance, was his death an accident or was it something far more sinister?  And now, malevolent people are seeking the master tapes for the album Jack produced shortly before his death.  Entitled “Black Tape,” it just might open a doorway to hell.

It is a dark and stormy night when Black Tape #4 opens.  The acolytes of Jack King have gathered at the home he shared with his widow, Cindy.  One of the acolytes, Frank, is spoiling for a fight with Cindy's friend, Cody.  Soon, the “Black Tape” will be played, and Cindy will be sacrificed as part of a ritual – to open up a portal for Satan!  Of course, nothing will go as expected.

THE LOWDOWN:  AWA Studios' marketing recently began providing me with PDF review copies of their comic book publications.  One of PDFs received is Black Tape #4, the second issue of the series that I have read.

I have not read the first two issues of Black Tape, but AWA Studios' marketing department has written up some perfectly detailed and aptly intriguing summaries for them.  I can say that the publisher knows how to sell the book.  I find myself intrigued by what I have read.

Writer Dan Panosian, who is also a hugely talented illustrator and comic book artist, has cast a devilish spell with Black Tape.  In turn, Dalibor Talajić has transformed Panosian's story into powerful comic book and graphical storytelling.  Black Tape looks and feels hoary and diabolical, and Ive Svorcina's colors creates a sense of shifting realities and nightmares.  The cherry on top is Steve Wands' patient and matter-of-fact lettering,  This resulted in a powerful penultimate chapter.

That said, Black Tape #4 is a bit of a letdown.  It takes the easy way out.  It can't go all the way in on the Apocalypse, nor can it play happy ending.  This final issue is more like the end of the first chapter and the beginning of what will come next.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it cheats the great ending that I know Panosian and Talajić could have delivered.  Still, Black Tape will make a … helluva read in trade paperback form.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:   Fans of fiction about people who sell their souls to the Devil and the subsequent consequences will want some Black Tape.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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