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Praetorian

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2009
By: Karyn Pinter

Jason M. Burns
Ramon Espinoza
Outlaw Entertainment
Who doesnít love opening a comic to the first page and being presented with a headless corpse? This is how Praetorian starts--at least continuity-wise. Timeline-wise it starts at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Four Praetorian guards, who stood at the feet of Christ as he hanged from the Cross, were made immortal and given the task of protecting humanity from the Judgment Killer--who also seems to live forever. Now in the current year, the Judgment Killer is back and leaving headless bodies with symbols carved in them all around the country. With the help of FBI Agent Kasandra Rodriguez, the four Praetorians will try to stop the Judgment Killer once and for all.

This book wasnít at all what I expected it to be. I honestly thought it was going to be a horror comic (and lord knows how I feel about those), but no.

What this is is a dark Da Vinci Code-type thriller. Iíd prefer not to relate Praetorian to The Da Vinci Code because people then just chalk it up as a rip off. This is not a rip off of that story, but it would fall into the same category of fiction as The Da Vinci Code.

There are the similarities between the two works: A mystery involving Jesus, the lineage angle, an artifact-based plot, and someone is related to someone else who may be immortal. However, the Spear of Destiny also plays a huge roll in the comic. The use of the Spear in a story like this isnít anything new, but itís a classic prop--sort of like having a villain wear an eye patch. It never goes out of style.

The character of Agent Rodriguez is fairly standard, too. Sheís assigned to the case and ends up getting too deeply involved--whether by her own doing or not. Sheís not a bad character at all, though, and sheís nicely paired with Julian, the head of the immortal Praetorians.

The story isnít thin, and it moves at a good pace, but the villain isnít spectacular. Itís pretty obvious who itís going to turn out to be, and then when the final showdown happens youíre left feeling sort of indifferent: ďOkay, heís dead, big deal. Itís not like he really did anything besides look ugly.Ē

I donít think enough time was spent on the real villain of the story: The Judgment Killer. I was more interested in the guy who was chopping the heads off people, but who was just the lackey as it turns out. Yeah, the villain was the biggest let down. He needed to be built up more, both in character and power. He dies like a bitch, and while not the bitchiest of bitch deaths, itís still predictable.

Jason M. Burns (Curse of the Werewoman) has produced another fun read, but his previous work was better. However, this book kept me turning pages, and thatís what counts.

As for the art, it was interesting. It was like this crazy blend of animation-type styling and quasi-realistic Photoshop; it definitely has a unique look to it. There was some pretty good gore, which is always a plus in my book.

Overall, Praetorian is enjoyable but predictable at certain turns, and there are some things that donít fit just right, but itís enjoyable nonetheless.



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