Meet Bob Benton. A few decades back he was a war hero. He’s seen trauma, watched close friends and family die, and has since retired to a normal life as a pharmacist. Writer Max Bemis (Moon Knight) and artist Matt Gaudio (John Wick) present a story about addiction, prescription pills, and punching crime square in the face. Black Terror #1 is a delightful story about a man who wants nothing more than to kick some ass.
Set in the 1970s, Bob Benton is a retired superhero who obtained his powers through an unknown self-created chemical. He’s settled down into an ordinary life as a pharmacist. But his alter ego past as The Black Terror keeps creeping back up to the surface causing Bob anxiety, PTSD, and a host of other health problems. One day he witnesses a customer stealing items out of his store and it triggers something in him. Through the thief’s actions, he learns that he’s still addicted to fighting crime and starts going out at night being a vigilante.
Black Terror #1 was such a fun and entertaining issue, using humor to tackle big topics like PTSD. Bob Benton reminded me of a cross between The Punisher and wrestler Shane “The Hurricane” Helms. I love Bemis’ brilliant combination of a drug-addicted, crime-fighting pharmacist — it’s ingenious. Another great touch with the plot is having the story narrated by Bob, which helps the reader see the world through Bob’s eyes.
Gaudio’s illustrations stay with you with every page turn. We literally get to watch Bob go through his superhero withdrawal syndrome. Gaudio does a superb job of visually taking us on his rediscovery of himself. One of my favorite splash pages reveals Bob in his Black Terror costume and it looks pretty bad-ass. His outfit actually makes him look more like a supervillain, but I guess that helps sell the terror part of his gimmick.
Black Terror #1 is a fantastic start to a series with a lot of potential. It’s witty, smart, and just an all-around good time. I’m already casting Simon Pegg in my head as the guy I’d love to see play Bob Benton in a TV series. If you love stories like Watchmen or The Death-Defying Devil, you’ll love this book.
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