Cherry Blackbird #1 brings together rock n’ roll, the occult, and deals made with the Devil.
It’s been the stuff of stories since at least the mid-20th century, if not earlier. There is something about talent, fame, and the price that it takes on the soul that continues to fascinate us mere mortals. Cherry Blackbird, however, is no mere mortal. She is a rock god, who also happens to be marked by Satan.
When we meet Cherry, she is 26, and eternity is calling. Some time ago she agreed that, in exchange for success, she’d hand over her soul to the Devil at the young age of 27 (a clever nod to the “Musicians Who Died at 27” club). Just in case she forgot, the Devil pays her a visit, and instead of simply issuing a timestamp, he offers her another deal: if she will collect the seven demons who have escaped hell (the Seven Deadly Sins), then the original pact will be broken. Can a rock star drunk on booze and high on coke tackle a horde of demons? Well, fortunately for Cherry, her friend/ex-lover knows someone who might be able to help.
What I most appreciate about Cherry Blackbird #1 is its premise. I’ve reviewed a number of comics that deal with music lore and the occult, but this narrative wisely gives readers a plot that extends beyond just the initial fame bargain. We actually have a mission: capture and send a group of demons back to where they belong. It gives the storyline a sense of purpose and informs readers of where the story is going.
That said, while the narrative is solid, the actual writing is inconsistent. Some pages read smoothly, while others pushed me “out” of the story. It was like I was merely looking at characters and reading words that didn’t seem to be coming from their mouths. The characters, in general, didn’t feel alive or multi-dimensional, and I wish I had been given more information about Cherry herself. Other than being an addict and a musician, I don’t know anything about her, so why exactly should I be invested in her story? That also goes for her friend/ex-lover, who is awkwardly thrown in.
Although the writing was a letdown, the art in Cherry Blackbird #1 is a lot of fun to look at. There is some great texture play, and a fantastic use of dark, muted colors that surprisingly don’t make the comic feel too heavy on the eyes. The lettering is also well-done and seamlessly blends into the pages.
Due to the overall narrative and the art, I wanted to like Cherry Blackbird #1 more than I did. I’m intrigued enough to at least give the second issue a read, but I’ll need to meet some more fully realized characters in order to convince me to continue on this demon-hunting mission.