Felt this title deserved another review based on the other reviews and the average rating. Black Summer is a quasi-political superhero sci-fi tale of ethics, paramilitary intrigue, and authoritism. The premise (without giving too much away) is a group of idealistic, brilliant, not-always-agreeable minds conceive of advanced scientific research that in turn ends up funded and watchdogged by greater powers that be. By the same token this group becomes more human than human with technologically advanced suits operating as a team of soldiers outside the confines of powers that be. When one of the more combustible members goes awol in committing a horrendous crime that cannot be condoned by his colleagues, it leads to our entire group of "heroes" becoming public enemy number one of the United States government and military - mayhem ensues. Or more fittingly put, "the @#$! hits the @#$@ fan!
The plotting is a fine line in between narrative spanning the current developments of said "horrendous act" while back-pedaling to fill us in on the main characters and what led-up to the current predicament. Trying to develop where not only our "heroes" come from, but relating to one another and these powers they develop and how the responsibility or use of powers should lie and the toll of it all. The story hits the ground running from the first page, but has to fill us in on what came before. It's an interesting and semi-successful balancing act that will leave some readers with a bitter aftertaste, and some satisfied but wanting more. It has a finite ending, and I was in the "satisfied but wanting more" camp. There's no other way to it, because that is the intention of the story.
Gorgeous, eye-poppingly attentive, and painstakingly detailed artwork is on hand throughout. Seriously the kind of work that is almost unseen of these days can leave the reader lost for minutes just absorbing it outside of the narrative. Juan Jose Ryp is one of the most gifted and impressive artists working today bar none. Why he is not a household name among comic enthusiasts beside his esteemed collaborator on this book is beyond me. He's a bright star; I hope he doesn't burn out too fast like many before him because I am now a huge fan as a result of this book!
If anything buy this book for two reasons. Reason number one: because it's different and takes chances. The plot and narrative itself is exciting and challenges itself and the reader by being in a difficult position taking larger pieces and putting them together to form a smaller puzzle. Really it's an exercise to form a story that is equal parts observation of the world we live in and the world that could be mixing sci-fi and superheroics with equal parts power and ethics, combined into a nasty bomb starting narratively with an explosion. Reason number two: the incredible, astounding, bleedingly brilliant artwork.