Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kel Symons
Artist: Nathan Stockman
Release Date: #3 out now; #4 is out 15th April, 2015
Hunh. Talk about curveballs. Here I was thinking that I was reading a fantasy book. What’s that old saying? Never judge a book by the first 2 issues? Something like that anyway…
To scrutinise the story across these two issues would be to take a sledgehammer to any enjoyment that you may or may not be extracting from the book thus far. Suffice to say – and you can possibly have a vague stab at what happens from the above paragraph – things take a rather drastic left turn, stylistically.
What I will say is that as far as curveballs go, this is one of the more intriguing ones that I’ve read to date – the particular fusion of genres going on here as potential to be a great one, and loads of credit must go to Symons for taking what was seemingly becoming just another by-the-numbers fantasy tale, and giving it a breath of freshness that looks set to pay off in spades. Whilst at first it’s a bit jarring, to be wrestled from one to the other, but as things progress, it becomes increasingly clear what Symons is doing, and if it’s going where it looks like it’s going, it should be rather satisfying.
Stockman and Little’s art remains solid, with some nice design work going on, particularly in the most recent issue, but it’s never quite as striking as you might like it to be – there was a real opportunity for some juxtapositional work given the left turn, and it’s not properly capitalised on in the art department.
Still, it’s a little way off being quite as essential as The Mercenary Sea – but that is very much pending the resolution of the cliffhanger at the end of issue #4, and I await #5 with bated breath. With the right twist in the plot, this could well see the series as a whole get an extra point on the score below – we’ll just have to see.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24