Comics in Color Week 6: Sword and Soul EditionA comic review article by: Ra'Chaun Rogers
Welcome back to the world of vibrant hues, where comic books are strewn with a myriad of shades and gradients. Where our protagonist is more likely to have a fresh high top fade as opposed to flowing golden hair.
Welcome to a world where fur- and leather-clad warriors of the north are replaced with smooth southern soldiers wearing colorful flowing robes. This is comics in color fam and this week we explore the fantasy realms with a slightly darker shade in the Sword and Soul edition.
(Sebastian A. Jones & Christopher Garner / James C. Webster / Joshua Cozine)
When I was a yougin I would wake up early on Sundays to catch Conan: The Adventurer, a cartoon chronicling the adventures of the Hyperborean hero as a young man. I loved watching hours of sword and sorcery action and adventure, so when I picked up Dusu it was as if someone had hit the reset button on my childhood love of fantastic realms.
Dusu is the story of a young man of the same name, who was found by the Galemren, an elven tribe that shares characteristics with various nomadic tribes in Africa. He is a human and as such isn't really welcomed by many of the fair folk. But the shepherd God Powisienne, deity of these particular elves, has marked our boy Dusu as a major player in the coming future. This doesn't stop his adopted brother Waso from trying to embarrass or kill him every chance he gets. Things get interesting when Dusu claims the life of an attacking wolf, thus provoking the ire of the Lord of Wolves -- who has long been insane. The end of this issue introduces a new direction to Dusu's life, one that was inevitable but also unexpected and leaves his future uncertain.
I enjoyed quite a bit about this comic. I was finally seeing a high fantasy comic where the people of color weren't disfigured and diseased orcs. Jones, Garner and Webster also took into account that the customs and traditions of various non-European cultures make for great mythbuilding.
The most noticeable success of this comic is the art. Stranger Comics as a company has prided itself on its beautifully painted fantasy work in the vein of Frazetta and Kelly. From the glowing rituals of the Galemren to the exhilarating hunt of Dusu and his brothers, this comic is something to behold. I will most definitely be doing a review of this series in the future so keep your eyes peeled and pick up a copy at Stranger Comics
The Untamed: A Sinner's Prayer #1
(Sebastian A. Jones / Peter Bergting / Troy Peteri)
Our second trip takes us to another section of Stranger Comics, where we accompany The Stranger on a boat ride from beyond the veil. As he travels to the town of Oasis, we learn that he was once not only a citizen but the town’s ruler, commanding Oasis with an iron fist at first, but his wife and daughter began to soften his heart. This did not stay the hand of those remembering his cruelty, nor stop them from butchering his family. Now back from a shallow grave, he travels to the town with only seven days left to finish his business and collect seven souls to grant his freedom, or be pursued by a mysterious warden.
Here we have another link in the chain of a world called Asunda. Sebastian Jones flies solo on this mystery, weaving what looks to be a blood-soaked tale of revenge - a story that may play into a wider world event.
The thing I like about this comic is the show of callousness of the main character. This isn't some plucky hero with quick wit and a heart of gold. This is a bastard who has had the few good parts of him slaughtered. As soon as he enters the town, he sees a man is getting strung up simply for wanting to leave. Instead of helping him, our man ignores the ple's of the man's sister and asks the executioners for the location of his quarry, the Blacksmith, whom he then beheads.
The art, as with all Stranger Comics, is superb -- with a perfect blend of shadow and silhouette that sets the tone. There is a also a cameo from another character, who seems to be either featured or mentioned in two other books in the world of Asunda, which was a nice treat.
My only problem with the book was that it seemed too brief. I felt like there was more that could have been shown without giving too much of the story away. I also would have liked to have seen a little bit more connection between the town of Oasis and any other outside territories -- maybe a map to give us perspective. But as this seems to be the first book in the universe, that defect can be overlooked.
This book seems to be the linchpin to the Asunda universe, as the Stranger is mentioned in Dusu as well. If that means that this signifies the beginning of crossovers and the like, well I do love good world-building.
You also can pick this comic up at Stranger Comics