Putting aside the rather witty title, when I’m given a blurb about Cullen Bunn writing a weird time travelling fantasy I’m obviously going to pay attention. August(e) is a knight on the hunt of an evil sorcerer. Wandering into an enchanted forest, he encounters the strange, mystical Jane Foole and takes his quest into a myriad of fractured timescapes.
Honestly, no short paragraph will do this work justice. The story hook is brilliant and the twists unfolding in just this first issue had me gripped. What could start as any dark medieval tale unfolds into a time-bending modern fantasy cleverly layered to tease out story threads without losing focus or pace.
After following vile Gaspard, the aforementioned sorcerer, into the dark forest, our scene shifts in the blink of an eye to a very modern looking city. My American geography isn’t great so it could be anything from Miami to L.A. Regardless, August is still on the hunt and tracking down a homunculus whilst encountering an old man who is sure that not only has he met the knight, but that he was saved by him years ago in New York.
There’s switching back to the forest and the first encounter with Jane followed by more time jumps but it’s never disorientating. Instead of jarring the suspension of disbelief, this bumpy ride just makes you hang on all the tighter building to a proper ‘oh’ moment on the last page.
I have to admit to not being familiar with artist Fran Galan’s work before, but it’s certainly a great fit for this series. The expressions and characterisations are wonderful to see. The crisp detail and consistency stand out and it’s nice to see the same attention paid to the world building and landscapes as the main characters.
I also love the subtle (and not so subtle) touches between the different time settings. Whether it’s the dark, bleak medieval tones or the warm pinks and oranges of the future past, the palette shifts quickly, much like the story but all very much in keeping as a whole. August’s ‘tache in what I presume to be the ‘70s is a top choice. Kudos to letterer Rob Steen for some of the choices here as well. The purple lettering and little oddities round off the treat that is this debut issue.
I’ve been enjoying a lot of the new material from AfterShock and after just one issue, this is shaping up to be one of the best I’ve read so far this year. Between the tightly paced story and pleasing visuals, if this series keeps up the momentum built so far you’ll definitely want to be adding it to your pull list. Part dark fantasy, part modern action hero sprinkled with magic and horror. Honestly, what’s not to like?
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster