Three strange pilgrims trek across the vast and empty expanse of a huge, unnamed grassland. These missionaries represent The Luminari, a faith which is not native to the wilds in which they wander. Stumbling across the site of a recent massacre, these holy men (and woman) must lay the bodies to rest before they are raised up and used like puppets by foul daemons. Elsewhere, a cocky young Horse Lord leads a hunt for massive beasts but is confronted with some shocking news, while on a distant sea, a young scientist must decipher the cause and meaning of an attack by an undead leviathan.
This new fantasy series from writer Chris Roberson and artist Paul Maybury is sprawling in scope and shows great ambition in its setting up of a fully realised fantasy world. Much like the massively popular Game of Thrones series, there’s a real diversity of peoples and cultures, which is admirable if a little overwhelming. After all, the wider world of Westeros is gradually revealed over the course of several books (or TV seasons if that’s your thing) rather than all at once as happens here.
The art capably handles the variety of characters and settings and there are some nice little touches like an eerie hallucinatory sequence early on which creates a mood of building purpose and dread. The sense of scale on display is fantastic, prairie lands and oceans are suitably endless and giant creatures are both intimidating and weirdly plausible. Sometimes during battle sequences it can be hard to discern who is fighting whom, but largely the art is clear and easy on the eye.
The script suffers slightly from ‘deep-enditis’ with its allusions to people and places hitherto unheard of; there are several references to a fictional history that can be a bit hard to follow. Cold openings like this are common in sci-fi and fantasy, but with its three-pronged narrative, Sovereign has three such openings in the space of 25 pages or so. It’s certainly intriguing, but also slightly confusing.
Still, the fantasy world on display here is well rounded and with enough depth to allow a lot of interesting stories.
The writer of this piece was: Joe Morrison
Joe is Freelance film journalist based in Glasgow.
You can also find Joe on Twitter.