Review – Amber Blake #1 (IDW Publishing)

Amber Blake #1 (IDW Publishing) cover(detail) by Butch Guice
Amber Blake #1
  • Writing - 4/10
  • Art - 6.5/10
  • Overall - 5/10
User Review
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Writer: Jade Lagardère 
Artist: Butch Guice
Letterer: Christa Miesner and Robbie Robbins
Maturity Rating: Mature
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: April 03, 2019

Amber Blake was a very gifted teenager. She and a friend were recruited by the Cleverland Institute that some of the greatest minds of today’s world went to. That doesn’t mean predators still do not lurk its grounds, and now Amber Blake is looking for revenge.


“Here Comes Revenge” Amber Blake #1

Amber Blake was an orphaned child, but she showed exceptional abilities. She was smart and a fighter. It did not take long for the highly touted Cleverland Institute to recruit her and a friend. Amber and her friend excelled through the Institute and graduated with flying colors, set up to live a long, fulfilling life with fantastic experiences. But, like everything, the Cleverland Institue holds dark secrets, predatory secrets, and those secrets are about to affect Amber Blake. On the run looking for revenge, another place looks to recruit Amber one that will hone her skills in a deadly direction to get revenge on the Cleverland Institue in Amber Blake #1.


Amber Blake #1 (IDW Publishing) cover by Butch Guice
Amber Blake #1 (IDW Publishing) cover by Butch Guice

Man, where to begin with Amber Blake #1? It is a packed first issue, and not in a good way. Jade Lagardère scripts the first issue well; it just moves at a breakneck pace. The first part of the issue goes well, as we deal with young Amber being recruited and whatnot. It is a pretty solid introduction to the character and starts to build a foundation for her. Then the story just starts moving way too fast.

We get not one, but four time-jumps in this first issue. It does not really give us any time with the character herself. It mainly jumps from one thing to another. She has relationships with other characters but they are not fleshed out enough to really care when things happen in this issue. At the core, Amber Blake is like a spy/revenge story about a girl going after a high-ranking predatory guy who uses his influence and power to get away with heinous crimes. But there is nothing really in this first issue to make the reader really care about any of these characters. I mean, yes, we want to see Amber get revenge for these terrible things, but there are thousands of other stories like this. Nothing in this issue makes this particular story special or really that interesting.


Butch Guice is a veteran of the comic book world and he does a solid job on Amber Blake #1. I really liked the first half of the issue. His ink lines are a lot rougher and it gives almost a Steve Epting or Sean Phillips type crime book vibe to the issue. There is kind of this nice “grittiness” to it that fits the tone of the issue well. He also tones the colors down and creates a dark, dank atmosphere for some of the very cringe-worthy scenes in the issue.

It is odd that toward the end of the issue Guice’s style seems to change. I had to look back at the credits to see if another artist was on the issue. Toward the end of the issue, after yet another time jump, his lines and characters become a lot cleaner and more polished. Gone is the grittiness and rough crime feeling. In comes this nice, almost glamorous look to the characters. It kind of threw me off a little bit.


Amber Blake #1, unfortunately, is not a great first issue. It feels like the story tried to stuff way too much into the first issue and it was not paced well enough. Too much is thrown at the reader and nothing really sticks. The art, for the most part, was solid; the change in style toward the end does throw the tone of the issue off, though. Amber Blake #1 has your basic revenge plot thing that has been done a lot. It is not a bad thing, but if you are going to do something that is done to death, you are going to have to have an interesting character or something that set it apart story-wise. Amber Blake #1 has none of that.

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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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