Comics

Black Bolt: (Inhu)Man on a Mission

Writer Saladin Ahmed charts the King’s return to planet Earth!

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Blackagar Boltagon has changed. And his home has changed too.

The King sails across the galaxy to return to a planet unlike anything he’s known before. On November 1, writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Frazer Irving present a most unusual homecoming in BLACK BOLT #7!

We snagged Saladin to discuss the voyage—and what Black Bolt will bring with him back to Earth.

Marvel.com: Black Bolt returns to Earth in BLACK BOLT #7how different do we find him now compared to when he departed the planet before issue #1?

Saladin Ahmed: He’s quite different.

Part of that has been what we’ve done with the series as a whole—as we never knew much about the Black Bolt that left Earth. So I’ve spent this first arc trying to get inside of who he might’ve been before.

Over the course of his imprisonment, though, he has sort of become someone else. He views his place in the world differently and most of this second arc will be about what happens when you change, come back home, and have to deal with all the things still there.

Marvel.com: Rumor has it he might not be coming back alone. What can you tell us about his travel companions?

Saladin Ahmed: Black Bolt returns with the alien psychic child Blinky. She became one of his companions in the prison and doesn’t really have anywhere to go. As we’ll see, Black Bolt tries to be a father figure again after he failed pretty miserably with his own kid.

Marvel.com: From Blinky’s perspective, what does this trip represent? What does it feel like for her?

Saladin Ahmed: Blinky had an extremely hard childhood—which we’ll get some glimpses of—and she spent time in a torture prison. So even given all the consequences and old faces Black Bolt will encounter with her by his side, I think she seems mostly wide-eyed in wonderment. She has an interest in Earth and she will have a whole new world of experiences.

I try not to write Blinky as horrendously naïve, but she is a kid. And despite a lot of the hard things that have happened to her, she tries to see what might be cool and interesting around her. And she’ll continue to do that. She’ll provide some lighter moments to the story.

Marvel.com: Black Bolt has changed, but Earth has as well. How different is the planet he returns to?

Saladin Ahmed: He spent a lot of time in prison—not all of this on-screen—but to my mind he spent a lot of time thinking about mistakes he made as a leader—the consequences of the Terrigen Mist, for instance. He comes back ready to deal with that only to find that the Inhumans faced another near-extinction event from Hydra.

This will be even more baggage for him to deal with. Very swiftly upon returning to Earth, he’ll have a reckoning with a new generation of Inhumans.

Marvel.com: The trip back to Earth promises to present its own challenges—what struggles will Black Bolt encounter along the way?

Saladin Ahmed: Well, issue #7 acts as an interval issue between the two arcs, guest drawn by Frazer Irving. An ethereal space issue. A journey.

I don’t want to give too much away, but threats emerge from the fact that Black Bolt and Blinky leave in a damaged state. Black Bolt’s power has been reduced significantly and he’s lost his voice. Lockjaw remains injured. Blinky continues trying to shake this stuff off.

They will have a passenger with them. They try to fix the situation in the prison and it seems most of the inmates escaped, but one inmate they encountered a few issues ago—Monsteroso—essentially needs a ride home. So they try to tie up some loose ends there, though they feel beleaguered at each turn.

Marvel.com: You mentioned Frazer Irving coming on as a guest artist for this one. How did you like working with him?

Saladin Ahmed: It’s interesting—Christian Ward and I have a pretty intimate bond that we’ve developed over these few issues. But really, with Frazer, I wanted to stay pretty hands-off and maybe a little looser in my scripting, just to see what he’d do.

He has a very alien style. Christian’s art has a psychedelic and cosmic feel, but Frazer’s feels more like hard science fiction in a way. It really lends itself to this story. He drew the ship that they travel on in this gorgeous way.

It felt really cool to not boss him around too much.

Marvel.com: As you mentioned, this acts as a sort of transition issue. For readers that heard the buzz and were waiting for a good moment to jump on, why does issue #7 serve as the right moment?

Saladin Ahmed: Oh, because while we certainly follow threads from the first arc, we telling a self-contained story in the second arc. BLACK BOLT #7 will be really a good place to meet the characters before we plunge into the action.

Saladin Ahmed and artist Frazer Irving’s BLACK BOLT #7 crash lands on November 1!

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