Friday, June 29, 2012

Review - Mortifera #1

Whether or not your religious it's always been suggested that there is a battle being waged between humans and demons. For whatever reasons, the demons are looking for something and it's usually up to a reclusive religious sect to maintain order behind the scenes.

According to Mortifera #1, that battle has been waged since the Dark Ages. The title is written by Stephan Frost and illustrated by Sarah Partington.

In the Dark Ages, demons were unleashed onto the world, prompting the Vatican to create two orders to combat them: the Exturminata and Mortifera. The latter garnered a reputation for dabbling in the occult, with its leader Elias Gregor.

Elias did his best to fight the demons, wiping most of them out and erecting Demon Keep as a means of storing all the demon weapons, blood and armor. That was all well and good until Kanisus returned and prompted a resurgence of demons.

Cue Catherine and Ethan Gregor, the descendants of Elias and two individuals tasked with carrying on the Elias legacy and stopping Kanisus.

Frost moves the first issue along at a very deliberate pace. The bulk of the issue is spent establishing the universe the series will live in, with most of the story regarding the flashback to Elias and his travails in the Dark Ages.

Catherine and Ethan are clearly set up to be really important, as evidenced by their enlistment of Durin, another demon tasked with taking down Kanisus. The thing is the entire issue seems to build up to them doing something, when by the end they don't really do anything.

Again, the pacing sort of hurts the first issue. Right when things start to get good towards the end, the issue is over. It feels like an abrupt finish and really knocks your legs out from under you. Your enthusiasm is getting ramped up to be squashed by the end.

Partington's art has an anime feel to it. It's very colorful and finely drawn, showcasing a wide range of panel layouts and character designs. There are a few epic battle scenes that are illustrated very well. Reading it reminds you of playing an old school SNES RPG like Lufia or Secret of Mana.

There's a torture scene in the issue which isn't overtly gory, which is nice. Considering this is a book about demons it could easily devolve into a bloody mess, but Partington doesn't let it get that far. She does an especially great job with Kanisus and the demons.

There are a lot of strong points in Mortifera #1. The story is solid and accompanied by great art, but the pacing is a little stilted and the issue ends right when things are getting better. There's definitely interest that's generated for the second issue though.

Mortifera #1 is due in stores August 29 with interiors below.




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