InkblotIn the first volume of Inkblot, a powerful sorceress finds that she has accidentally summoned (released…?) a piece of the void realm that takes the shape of a small black cat. The cat defies any attempt to discover his heritage and specific power set; however, we see glimpses of its power as it travels through time and through portals to other realms. The first volume collects six issues, which have a tenuous through line about the sorceress’s family and the cat’s adventures. In one adventure, we learn about the history of the Living Castle, where the library of their adventures resides. In another, the sorceress travels back in her own history to a particularly tragic event. The sorceress does not always appear on the page but provides commentary throughout. The reader can ponder what the cat’s purpose is as it leaps into action to “accidentally” defuse tense situations and can be seen interacting with other family members in the background. 

The second volume appears to skip many years into the future as the sorceress is now quite old and has a granddaughter to whom she is attempting to teach magic, although it seems like magic is no longer as plentiful. The sorceress is still obsessed with discovering the cat’s secrets, giving new meaning to the term “crazy cat lady.” Once again, each of the six issues appears to have very tenuous links to the whole, but we do learn more about the sorceress’s sisters, two of whom are constantly at war with each other. We learn just a bit more about the void and its inhabitants, but the cat’s purpose and origin are still not deeply explored. 

This series suffers from pacing issues. There isn’t much in the way of steady character development and the author seems to introduce new thoughts and characters briefly before moving on to the next scene without building a bridge for the reader to follow how they relate to the new material. Because of this, the story feels disjointed and like it is going nowhere quickly. 

The artwork is the saving point of this series, as the cat can be fun to locate in large scale scenes with lots of details. The use of color is especially effective and the artistic team does a great job portraying emotion on the humans’ faces as well as movement in the many action scenes. 

Unfortunately, with the shallow episodic format, this series will probably not satisfy most readers interested in picking it up. It’s very hard to get invested when the story skips around and never answers the many questions it raises. I had hoped that the second volume would expand on the first’s mysteries but instead, it continued the disjointed structure. It may appeal to readers who like good art, funny cat moments, or magical libraries. Be aware that there is on page violence and strong language, so it may work better for older teens. 

Inkblot, vols. 1-2
By Emma Kubert, Rusty Gladd
Image, 2021
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9781534318243
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9781534319905
Publisher Age Rating: T

NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)

  • Liz

    | she/her Assistant Professor


    Elizabeth Hollendonner is an Assistant Professor for Staley Library at Millikin University. She has been reading and enjoying graphic novels and manga since grade school, took a comics class under Dr. Carol Tilley and a book review class under Dr. Deborah Stevenson while earning her Master of Science in Library and Information Science degree.

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