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Sky Pirates of Valendor #4

Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008
By: Dave Baxter

Everett Soares
Brian Brinlee, Michael W. Kellar (i), Jet Amago
Free Lunch Comics
Plot: The crew of the Rouge’s Revenge, recovering from their mission to rescue a young healer gal whose worth is seemingly inestimable, stumble across a flying settlement that will offer them the biggest battle of their maiden series’ flight.

Eloquent Commentary: I’ve been a big supporter of this book when it first appeared as nothing more than a concept coupled by a smattering of trial sequential pages in Dimestore Productions’ Small Press Idol 2007 competition. Sky Pirates made it to the finals, but fell short of the first prize standing. Nevertheless, it was the first of all contestants to find a publisher and expand itself into a 5 issue mini-series, a short but memorable run that has thus far obliterated my original expectations.

Pirate ships taken into the air-up-there is not the most unheard of twist in fiction today. Be it the space-opera iteration in Marvel’s Star Jammers or the Dreamcast game Skies of Arcadia, or Sword of the Swashbucklers, to paraphrase Stephen Sondheim, “There are pirates in the skyyyy!” So creator/writer Everett Soares had need to ante up something a far cry denser than a raucous plot with clanging swords, blazing cannons, and aerial dogfights to make this series something worthwhile.

So it is a mighty boon that, from the very first installment, Sky Pirates has been a shockingly nuanced series. Soares observably has spent long days and sleepless nights fleshing out this fantasy world with a history and make-up worthy of any RPG sourcebook, and unlike many a modern-day fantasy comic, he expertly sets up his heroic crew of the ship “The Rouge’s Revenge” to wander through and explore a wide array of facets without such progression ever feeling forced. I don’t have nearly the number of fingers required to list the sword 'n’ sorcery mags that are simply one fight after another, one race of creatures escaped only to fall into the grip of the next, and while Sky Pirates doesn’t necessarily break this mold, it’s virtually a trailblazer for how well it handles them.

The characters are likewise iconic while never feeling cut from cardboard and balanced against a wall to smile and brandish a product to the reader. Soares’ dialogue follows the dictates of character and situation, and keeps the banter and cheese factor to a minimum.

Brian Brinlee, Michael W. Kellar and Jet Amago team up for the art, and they outdo their work on previous issues with every passing page. The book sports solid clean lines with professional tones and a dynamic layout. The action is superb and the emotional content fluently expressed.

Final Word: This penultimate issue is no different from any that came before it -- fast-paced, old-school fun with a deft use of classic fantasy and contemporary storytelling techniques. A remarkable new indy black-and-white that everyone should check out.

Where to find it?: Sky Pirates of Valendor #1 - 3 are each available for free online reading or cheap $1.00 download at Wowio.com . Issue #4 will be added there soon.

Also, you may show your support of this book at the Project Fanboy Annual Awards where it’s nominated in over half-a-dozen categories! To vote, go here.

Where to find me?: The Worst Writer in the World



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