Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Ram V
Illustrator: Sumit Kumar
Colours: Vittorio Astone
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Release Date: 6th February 2019
The troubles are escalating. The East India Trading Company, using the death of Alain Pierrefont to give their war legitimacy, obtains the support of the Crown and the troops that come with it. Hyder Ali of Mysore seeks help from Calicut to bolster his troops, but when young Vikram Mani refuses his call, Bishan takes up the sword to defend his world. Meanwhile in London, the vampires are gathering their resources to avenge the death of their brother.
This is a brutal and heart-breaking issue that is also unbearably beautiful in places. I don’t mean just the artwork either, as Ram V’s writing is all of these things too, if not more so. Every moment in this issue is poignant and filled with emotion. Partings are wrenching, betrayal is bitter and devastating, and the love these characters feel for one another is overwhelming.
Kumar and Astone are my favourite artistic team of the moment. Every panel they produce is a beautifully detailed work of art. Every aspect of the art is perfect; the characters, the architecture, the landscapes, everything. Kori’s world literally shrivelling up and dying around her as her heart bleeds; even the single tear in Vikram’s eye for his separation from Bishan is heartbreaking. The image of Bishan’s soldiers lined up with their war elephants could be a painting hanging on a wall rather than a single panel in a comic. There’s just so much to look at and so much skill and emotion in this art.
Letterers frequently get the short end of the stick in reviews, but I think that Aditya Bidikar produces some of the most intricate and artistic lettering I’ve seen in a comic book in decades. Bidikar brings a distinct voice to each character that adds just another layer of depth to the story.
I’ve sat staring at my keyboard for an hour now trying to write this paragraph because I’m really struggling to find the words to do justice to this series. This is a flawless comic. The writing, the art, the design, the colouring, the lettering, everything is absolutely faultless.
If you haven’t already picked up this series then I seriously cannot think of anything else that I could recommend more at the moment. It’s a fantastic blend of historical drama and supernatural thriller with some of the best creative talent in the industry behind it.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek