Review – The Order of the Forge #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

27678Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Tazio Bettin
Released: 29th April 2015

Fantastical historical tales are a tough one to pull out of the bag. As we learned from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, taking it too seriously can completely derail what might otherwise be a fun romp, but on the flipside, going too irreverent can do exactly the same thing, only in far more spectacular fashion (here’s looking at you, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters).

Order of the Forge doesn’t fall into either of these pitfalls – in terms of the serious/silly balance, it actually rides the line rather neatly, if occasionally tending towards the more serious end of the spectrum.

The art’s decent, with some atmospheric colour-work that does a great job of capturing the mood of the period, with just the right amount of fantastical flashes. There’s a nice dynamism to an action sequence towards the end as well, with crackling flashes of violence and literal lightning that all mesh together rather nicely.

The story is all set-up, as you might expect for an issue one – perhaps a little too much in this particular instance, however. There’re telegraphed hints here and there of something more, but it’s not yet been capitalised on, and the story hasn’t really ended up on any particular path just yet.

There’re a couple of points of marginal discomfort – the first is the swearing, the second is the nudity. It’s like Gischler was trying to inject a Deadwood-y vibe into a the American Revolution, and it feels a tad awkward. It might just be that American history isn’t exactly my particular node of expertise, but the two aesthetics feel distinctly at odds with one another.

It’s just not quite interesting enough to really heartily recommend, but at the same time, it’s not immediately dismissible. There’s potential for a fun story to be told here, if they actually get to the historical-team-up-come-zombie-viking-axe-murder-session that the cover promises. Future issues could see this become more essential, but for now, it’s not quite there yet.

Rating: 3/5.

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RSavThe Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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