Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review - Reyn #1


"Seriously, I could use a break here."

Heroes of legend are just that: legend. Their tales are told throughout history, giving them a certain status that makes them both feared and revered. Sometimes though, the reality doesn't match up to the legend and people are treated to someone less than a hero. Someone like Reyn in Reyn #1 from Image Comics. The book is written by Kel Symons, illustrated by Nate Stockman, colored by Paul Little and lettered by Pat Brosseau.

Reyn is a freelance swordsman and monster hunter who also might be the last of the legendary “Wardens” of the land of Fate, whose ranks long since faded into myth. Haunted and driven by visions from a “guiding angel,” Reyn sets out on a great quest—though he’s hardly the errant knight-type. Along the way he’ll rescue and partner with the sorceress Seph, a member of a coven known as the Followers of Tek, hunted as heretics for their beliefs, but who may also know what secrets Fate holds.

Reyn #1 offers a very straightforward premise that doesn't get bogged down in the minutia of a new universe. Symons offers up action within the first few panels that establishes Reyn as a fierce warrior and sets up his backstory as a Warden. From there, the book simply follows Reyn as he travels the countryside, encountering some who want to hurt him, some who want to join him and some who fear him. Reyn's personality is arrogant and bold, courtesy of Symons characterizing him through brisk interactions with those he isn't fighting. Seph is something of a firecracker and her more "modest" approach to life is a sobering contrast to Reyn's more forceful take on things.

For Reyn #1, the tone of the book is somewhere between Monty Python and Conan. Stockman achieves that, offering a look that's cartoonish at points in terms of exaggerating some of the character appearances. Reyn himself is square-jawed and brawny, more than capable of holding his own against any enemy; whether it's a massive monster or a battalion of guards. Seph looks a lot younger but just as fierce and other characters like Mythall have a lizard-like appearance that makes him look menacing. Stockman relies on a myriad of different panel layouts as well, peppering insets throughout the more traditional layouts that keep the pages feeling varied.

Reyn #1 has a lot of fun with the somewhat familiar sword and sorcery book. It doesn't rely too heavily on either though, instead parlaying a brash and selfish character in Reyn into a story about a legend long forgotten. Symons' pacing is steady throughout, offering the right mix of battle and story that effectively introduces the reader to the universe he's creating. Stockman presents characters with life who represent a bold and dangerous world for them to play in. Reyn #1 doesn't take itself too seriously but clearly has grander ambitions in mind, promising to make for what is expected to be a fun series.

Reyn #1 is in stores now.

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