"So like countless men and women before me. I simply prepare for tomorrow." - Jennifer Drake (aka Lady Pendragon)
So, will there be a tomorrow for Lady Pendragon? That is the question for this newest contestant in Top Cow's 2008 Pilot Season. There are six contestants, but only two will continue on.
For the first five pages we get a "previously on..." type recap. You see Lady Pendragon isn't new. Lady Dragon first popped up in 1995. Now Hawkins is bringing it back for Pilot Season and -- who knows -- maybe as a new ongoing series.
After getting caught up (although you may have to read it a couple of times to actually absorb all that info) we see Lady Pendragon and her people fighting against an attack. You see, the world has made being magical a capital crime. Those who can escape are trying to find protection with Lady Pendragon, but things aren't looking good when the enemy decides to add magical tactics with their science.
The concept of magic versus technology is an engaging one and I really like the setting. Hawkins did a good job catching people up, while also setting the stage for the new status quo. He got us into the head of the lead character. Plus, he introduced a major threat for possible future issues.
In the end of the book Hawkins gives a commentary about the path that lead to this book and about the last minute changes he made. He was going to have Lady Pendragon go to an alternate Earth to help reboot the book, but changed his mind. I'm not sure if he made a good call or not. The only thing counting against this issue is the already established history that may make it hard for new readers. But I can also see why Hawkins would have a hard time letting go of those already published stories. I find it really interesting that Hawkins plans on re-writing dialogue in the upcoming TPB for the old issues to help it line up better with the new.
We'll just have to wait and see if new readers embrace the pre-established history or if it turns them off from the book. The five page exposition was a little hard to read because of all the information, but I have to give kudos to Hawkins for packing in so much in so few pages.
I love the gorgeous painted cover by Drew Struzan. For some reason it caused me to pleasantly reminisce about Crossgen's Sojourn.
I have mixed feelings on the interior art by Eru. In many ways I really enjoyed the slightly anime style artwork. Especially the sweet two-page spread of military jets versus dragons. But, I just don't care for the character's faces. They look too cartoonish for my personal taste. On a more positive note, I felt the coloring really added to the story.
Final Word: A truly magical and epic setting with a rich history. I'm curious where it may go from here, but we'll have to wait to see what fate has in store for this pilot.
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