Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Juan Gedeon
Release date: 30th March 2016
In a world in which fantastical creatures cause chaos amongst the ruins of society, titular character, Strayer, possesses inhuman strength and is a monster mercenary – for a fee. After being magically coerced into helping a young woman, Mala, undertake a mysterious quest to restore order to the world, the pair forms an uneasy alliance.
The third issue of the comic follows the pair as they embark on their action-adventure. Coming across an untrusting band of people on the move, the group is attacked by a pack of savage creatures and must join forces in a battle that stems the majority of the issue. Mala, who is mysteriously covered in rune-like symbols, possesses a patchy – at best – control over her magical abilities; her supernatural flair works sometimes on command and, at other times, as in the case here, it falls flat. This character trait lends itself perfectly to the action or suspense elements of the story, and the comical tones of Justin Jordan’s writing. There is a definite cheekiness to the character dialogue with Strayer, as the comic relief and thus playing against the stern, focused and tactless Mala.
Juan Gedeon’s line art is blocky and ragged, and – when combined with Tamra Bonvillain’s flat colours – is very reminiscent of the aesthetic of cut scenes or loading screens from early video games. Particularly with the fantasy themes and action, the comic is comparable to Master System games such as Lord of the Sword, SpellCaster and Golden Axe.
Strayer very much lives up to its name; all in all, a simple and fun read that plays upon the outlander aspect of its titular character. We know little about Strayer or why Mala needs him and his strength to help her save the world at this point – as well as who she is and why she, with her abilities, is hunted by a seemingly ruling faction – but this only serves to stir curiosity in the reader. Don’t stray from this one.
The writer of this piece was: Rebecca Booth
Rebecca Tweets from @rebeccalbooth