Writer: Rich Douek
Artwork: Joe Mulvey
Colours: Chris Sotomayor & Jules Rivera
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Release Date: 29th May 2019
The great civilisations of mankind have fallen from the stars. Thousands of years later, a new civilisation has risen from the ashes, in a world where the technological remnants of the past are controlled by the Tyrant of Minturn as a means of keeping the people in line. Technology so alien to the common man that it is perceived to be magical.
The most feared and powerful of these items is the legendary Wailing Blade, a weapon wielded by the Tyrant’s executioner The Headtaker. Bands of scavengers roam the lands, defying the Tyrant by attempting to liberate technological items. One such is the Windtakers, whose Prince, seizing an opportunity to steal a great prize from the Tyrant, sets himself directly in the path of the Headtaker and The Wailing Blade.
There is a lot going on in this first issue in terms of world building, and a huge amount left unsaid. The introduction to this issue talks about mankind’s fall from the stars, although whether this is literal or figurative is a little open to interpretation at this point. The setting is a futuristically tinged hyperborean world with a landscape of flora and fauna completely alien to the world we know, but again, is this an extra-terrestrial influence or the influence of thousands of years of evolution?
I love the mixture of the futuristic and the medieval; a hover-sled being pulled by a pair of dog-faced goats, a moss covered, ancient wall broken by an electronically operated gate, giant lizards being used as steeds, an immense warrior, dressed like Highlander’s Kurgan, and wielding a sword straight out of Final Fantasy.
There are some really interesting characters introduced in this issue, The Headtaker was, for me, a mass of contradictions and questions unanswered. The opening dialogue leads your mind towards a character that is reluctant to do his job, and is being given a pep talk to tell him how important his job is and how just his actions are. As we progress through the story, we see a man perfectly at ease with his role, and as we draw to the end of this issue, we’re not sure that the Headtaker is even a man at all.
The Windtakers are a glorious mix of the denizens of the world of Conan the Barbarian, Middle Earth and the birdmen of Flash Gordon. Tychon is brash, carefree and the archetypal barbarian hero, with a look somewhat like Slaine Macroth. There is a non-human race that work with the Windtakers, think forest elves meet Venus Bluegenes and you won’t be far wrong. Again, whether they’re non-terrestrial or an evolutionary step is open to interpretation.
The character design is great, and while there is the odd panel here and there where, for me, the colouring jars, the artwork is good throughout. I think my niggles are purely borne on not being a huge fan of CG colouring, so I may just be being overly critical. Joe Mulvey produces some really cool action scenes, with some fantastic perspectives and depth of field that bring you right into the scenes.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this first issue and I think the blend of genres is going to make this a really interesting and exciting read. Definitely one I will be adding to my pull list.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek