Review by Frank Plowright
Volume two ended with what seemed like a one-off story, but the villain of the piece returns to create something that threatens not just Black Terror, but his fellow revived superheroes from Project Superpowers. That’s followed by a three part story taking a look at the villains those guys fought back in the day. Or maybe not. Maybe Alex Ross and Phil Hester just made them all up, but they certainly fit the nuttiness of 1940s superhero comics, with the most hilarious the guy tattooed with swastikas as seen in the sample art.
Of the two artists, Jack Herbert is far more impressive than Wagner Reis. Reis fills his panels to the point of distraction while Herbert provides his characters with breathing space by moving the viewpoint out a little and embedding them more in backgrounds. Over the course of the series the artists have toyed with pirate imagery, inspired by Terror’s skull and crossbones motif, and the final step has now been taken as he’s provided with his own flying galleon that not only hones in on evil, but comes with a full complement of friendly ghosts to man the cannons. This may sound every bit as silly as the tattooed Nazi, but has something he doesn’t, the potential for an imposing image. Again, Herbert is better at realising this than Reis.
Identity has been a theme running through the series, Black Terror questioning himself, and that’s brought to a logical conclusion when he meets a doctor with his name, Bob Benton. He’s already met a version of his fighting self, and Black Terror action figures also have a part to play. For all that, and Herbert’s art, the excitement of the previous volume is lacking. The opening story again has the Terror lost amid a platoon of other superheroes, and too much is unexplained or too convenient about the second story. It’s the type of stuff that may have prompted further plots had the series continued, but standing alone, you’ll just have to accept things happened because they did.
Volume three concludes the Black Terror’s solo adventures, and is also combined with the previous two graphic novels as the second Project Superpowers Omnibus.