REVIEW: ‘Cloaked,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cloaked #1 Review

Cloaked #1 is written by Mike Richardson, illustrated & colored by Jordi Armengol, and lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot. It is published by Dark Horse Comics. 25 years ago, the world was rocked by the appearance of a mysterious masked figure known as “The Sentinel” to the people he saved and “The Reaper” to criminals for the lethal justice he dispensed. But one day, he vanished, leaving behind a trail of questions. In the present day, private eye Roger “Jake” Stevens is hired by billionaire Bryon West to track down the vigilante. Stevens’ investigation leads him into the path of his former co-workers in the police force and the vigilante’s sidekick, which yields surprising results.

Richardson’s career and Dark Horse’s history are intertwined; he founded the company back in 1986 and oversaw the publication of original titles like HellboyThe Umbrella Academy and also co-created and wrote comics including The Mask and TimeCop, with both series eventually receiving film adaptations in the ’90s. Given how creative Dark Horse’s output has been over the years, I can’t help but wonder why Richardson chose this genre and approach. The superhero genre has been deconstructed multiple times, both at major publishers like DC with Watchmen and over at other indies with titles like Invincible at Image and Incorruptible at BOOM! Studios. That being said, Richardson does find a few angles to tackle including how a teenage sidekick would fare in the real world.

The major draw of the issue is Armengol’s art, which perfectly captures the gritty aesthetic that Richardson is aiming for. The vigilante himself comes off as a cross between Batman and The Shadow; his form-fitting black costume comes complete with a billowing cape, a  mask with glowing red eyes, and twin revolvers. A two-page spread chronicles his exploits, including heading out on patrol with his then-teenaged sidekick and fighting a crazed clown (yet another nod to a certain Dark Knight). Armengol also differentiates between past and present with his color art; the sequence that opens the book takes on a sepia-toned look with shades of amber and gold, while the present-day sequences feature a more muted and realistic tone. Piekos’s lettering also embraces the grit with dark, rusty red sound effects-especially the word “Blam,” which pops up a lot in the first issue.

However, there’s one aspect of Armengol’s art that throws me off and it’s the eyes-or rather, the lack of eyes. Each character is depicted with voids of black space where their eyes should be and the effect is extremely unsettling. Eyes can often express emotions more than words ever could, and that’s definitely true of the comics medium. For Armengol to take out a key element of emotional weight makes it fairly hard to connect with the characters.

Cloaked #1 throws its hat into the “realistic superhero” ring with a noir-inspired tale, featuring script work from none other than the founder of Dark Horse Comics. I hope that the remaining issues start to flesh out the mystery and make this comic stand out in a crowded line of offerings.

Cloaked #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Cloaked #1
4

TL;DR

Cloaked #1 throws its hat into the “realistic superhero” ring with a noir-inspired tale, featuring script work from none other than the founder of Dark Horse Comics. I hope that the remaining issues start to flesh out the mystery and make this comic stand out in a crowded line of offerings.