Valen the Outcast #1A comic review article by: Dylan B. Tano
Revenge. A dish best served... Undead? You bet it is. What would you do if a Necromancer strolled up in your town and slaughtered your army and claimed you as one of his undead minions? You'd go find his ass and exact your undead revenge, perhaps involving some dismemberment and soul retrieval along the way. That is the motive behind Valen the Outcast, BOOM!'s newest fantasy comic. It is a unapologetic action fantasy ride full of blood, action, gore and, of course, curvy women.
Sure, it doesn't offer a lot of protection, but daaamn I look good.
Nelson does a nice job with the story, setting things up quickly and never fully letting his foot off the throttle. Along the way you'll see Scalera's work don the pages, with eye balls flying here and there while men are impaled and dismembered liberally. It makes for a fun read while Nelson subtly lays the workings of a potentially complex story. He doesn't do anything to break the mold of a fantasy novel but he does take conventional twists and uses them in nice ways. At one point our Undead King Valen; not Elvis, has wandered back into his home town looking for help to find the Necromancer. Of course, he's betrayed by his hired hand and is turned into his best friend, named Claymore. Yes... his name is Claymore, not making that up. What ensues is a blood bath and it is orchestrated nicely by Scalera's art work. The king can't be harmed unless beheaded or pierced through the heart, and they have a bit of fun with this without overdoing it. Valen gets a sword through the gut at one point, then proceeds to lop the man who did it to shreds, and then uses the sword lodged in his gut to kill a man behind him.
Dialogue can be a tricky thing in fantasy stories. It can fall flat on its face and ruin an otherwise excellent story. Nelson doesn't try to do anything fancy, instead keeping the dialogue as straightforward as the action. There are no "Where fore art thous" here. It works with the kind of book they are building, taking a classic villain and turning him into a hero who just wants his humanity back.
Herpin' and Derpin'
Through it all Nelson deftly laid ground work for the journey going forward, after all no fantasy adventure is done alone. He brings in a scantly clad tattoo artist and the 1400s version of Han Solo along for the ride. These people have had dealings with our Undead liege in the past and they aren't the most friendly of traveling companions. The overarching themes you find in every fantasy story are here, but is that really a bad thing? I don't think so, mostly because of how the book closes. Lets just say our Necromancer has a surprise that made this book going forward something I will want to keep reading.
Dylan B. Tano is a relatively new reviewer powered by a love of bacon and constantly distracted by a kitten who would rather use his laptop as a bed. He grew up idolizing Spider-Man and can’t believe he gets to review comics all day.