Yes, that’s why it’s been so long since my last post. I’ve been working on that title all this time.
Many of you may know Black Bolt from his many guest appearances in Fantastic Four. He’s the benevolent king of the Inhumans, those wacky super powered beings that aren’t quite mutants, aren’t quite Eternals, and aren’t quite good enough to carry their own ongoing series.
Even in a rich world like the Marvel Universe, populated with wild and wacky characters, Black Bolt stands out. None of his attributes are completely original, but he wears them in a way that is uniquely his own. He’s super strong…we’re talking Thing-level, easy…but still slim and agile (not commonplace in the MU). He’s got a variation of the popular “sonic scream” power, but to such a degree that it makes Banshee look like a child pitching a fit. This is also a dangerous power that he constantly has to keep under control. He can’t hide it behind a ruby visor and go on living life normally…his merest whisper is like setting off a nuke in town square.
And, he is a king. Not by fear (Doom), or force (Namor), or even by weird cultural bylaws (Black Panther). Just because the Inhumans love him so damn much. The Inhumans WORSHIP this guy like you wouldn’t believe…they make the citizens of Latveria look downright rebellious by comparison. And he loves them right back. He is infinitely loving of his loyal subjects and patient with his detractors…such as his insane brother Maximus. Despite how many times Max has tried to take over the royal family, Black Bolt treats his mentally ill brother with kindness and respect.
Look at the lengths BB will go to keep his family together. He takes his runaway cousin Crystal all the way to the very edge of the moon’s Blue Area, where there is just the faintest hint of oxygen, just so he can say:
(Well, his heart was in the right place)
But look at some of the feats Black Bolt has pulled off. He’s destroyed cities merely by speaking, but he’s done that so often that it almost goes without saying. He has knocked out the Hulk. Not fought him to a standstill, not turned him back into Banner, but knocked his ass OUT. He defeated Graviton, who…oh, yeah…had turned into a living BLACK HOLE at the time. He has technically taken out a Watcher (actually Doctor Doom with a Watcher’s stolen power, but still!).
Black Bolt once came upon the Silver Surfer in a pitched battle with another cosmic being. He told them to stop. In soundless space. And they DID.
He once scared off a cosmic entity called the Vortex (a “galaxy-collector”) by ALMOST saying something. And he yelled at Galactus…who was on the other side of the galaxy…and Galactus got his ass in gear and SHOWED UP!
He also totally curb-stomped Apocalypse, which is much less impressive than the above feats, but it’s so awesomely represented in this one page that I just had to display it.
Despite his great power and stylish black leotard, Black Bolt will forever be defined in the minds of fans by five little words: “Tuning. Fork. On. His. Head.” Which is not terribly surprising, as he does, in fact, have a tuning fork sticking out of his head.
See? Right there, tuning fork. Now admittedly, the Inhumans have a…flamboyant fashion sense to begin with. But Black Bolt’s costume isn’t much different than your average super hero spandex getup. Actually, it’s cooler than most, and Black Bolt himself is cool enough that we forgive him the little wings under his arms. But the tuning fork just comes out of nowhere. It doesn’t even try to hide the fact that it’s a tuning fork. And sure, it does serve a purpose. It collects electrons from the air and converts it into strength, and other vaguely defined feats of energy manipulation. But that’s only icing on the cake. In reality, there’s one reason and one reason only that Black Bolt wears that thing:
He WANTS you to say something about it.
Ohhh, Black Bolt is PRAYING that you say something about the tuning fork on his head! Just so he can KICK your INSOLENT ASS up and down the Blue Area of the Moon.
Magneto made fun of the tuning fork, to his lasting regret. And really, who is he to be dissing anyone else’s headgear?
The Sphinx talked some smack too, and Black Bolt knocked him right into character limbo. And again, the Sphinx has perhaps the worst hat I’ve ever seen.
Black Bolt whaled on Gladiator so bad that even Superman felt it, and that doesn’t make a lick of sense (I’m sensing a pattern here about head adornment envy).
The Hulk, Black Bolt’s first opponent with a comparatively normal head, made the mistake of referring to the King of Attilan as “Fork Head”. Baaaad move, stupid.
All Namor did was shout “Imperius Rex”, but Black Bolt didn’t care. He kicked his ass for him anyway. The Inhumans could conquer Atlantis in a flash, they just don’t want to. There’s no boardwalk, what the hell are they gonna do with it?
Neither friend nor foe are spared Black Bolt’s righteous wrath. The Thing probably thought he was being funny when he made his little witticism. But it wasn’t very funny when he was collecting pebbles from his jaw off the floor.
Ikaris was next to receive Black Bolt’s mighty pimp-hand, both for being flippant and for generally being an all-around inferior Kirby creation.
Doctor Doom insulted Black Bolt, and did so while speaking in the third person. So he had to go.
The Hulk, moron that he is, forgot what happened last time and insulted Black Bolt again. But Black Bolt is full of mercy for the mentally challenged, and only hit him once.
Black Bolt’s awesomeness is often eclipsed by his family, who…God bless them…suck more than a little.
The Royal Family follow BB around, generally aggravating people and getting into trouble that Black Bolt must save them from. They are one-note characters for the most part, with ugly character designs and dumb power. A big dumb goat-man, a woman with living hair, a fish that walks on two legs, a big-headed uppity nerd who knows karate, and a big ugly dog. Medusa is kinda hot, but that’s about as far as it goes. As this is a snark-free blog, the less said about them the better. Suffice it to say, they are holding him back.
This is a guy, if you cut him loose from the zoo crew, that could head into space and have the kind of cosmic adventures that Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock have. Facing down alien armadas, matching wills against cosmic entities, dueling with Thanos whenever Jim Starlin isn’t writing him…I would read that! You wouldn’t read that? Hell yeah you would!
So, to sum up: Black Bolt, immensely cool. Being held back by his family. Needs a solo series in the worst way. Tuning fork on purpose. Lives to kick ass.
Oh, and just in case you don't have anything to say about the tuning fork...
...he has a hat, too.