Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review - The Untamed: Killing Floor #1 (@strangercomics)


"My life is a shadow that deepens in death."

Some will argue that life in the Dark Ages was pretty rough. It had to have been, considering the entire era was named for it. In The Untamed: Killing Floor #1 from Stranger Comics, life in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Dark Ages is just as hard. The issue is written by Sebastian A. Jones, illustrated by Peter Bergting, layouts by Darrell May and lettering by A Larger World Studios.

Stranger and Niobe, a dead man and a would-be savior, reach the port city of Asarra Bay, a haven for thieves and killers, two of whom may know the whereabouts of Stranger’s family. They just so happen to be the ruthless leaders of rival assassins guilds, and neither has much love lost for Stranger.

There's a lot of really good fantasy lore in The Untamed: Killing Floor #1 that shows Jones has a tale in mind he'd like to tell. Stranger and Niobe are an odd pairing who are on a mission together, but Jones infuses their relationship with something of a mutual respect that makes their pairing work. They are given plenty of opportunity to showcase their abilities against some nameless fodder, but Jones ends the issue with a much greater enemy on their trail. Jones presents that enemy in a very effective way, mirroring an encounter with a traveler from earlier in the issue to highlight the difference in morality between Stranger/Niboe and the new pursuer. There's a slow and steady build-up throughout the issue that gives it very effective pacing, not hurrying towards any reveals sooner than necessary.

Bergting's artwork is minimal in many ways. The character exist in relation to one another, but there's little in the way of background scenery as Bergting relies on the fantasy-inspired looks of the characters to carry the world. It works really well for the content of the book and is given even more gusto by the use of a simple color palette that washes full pages in monochromatic tones. This has a great effect of emphasizing the time of day or location for instance and makes up for the lack of busy backgrounds. And the panels are largely presented in a clean format that follows the action intuitively.

The Untamed: Killing Floor #1 is an interesting fantasy comic that has a lot going on. Stranger and Niobe an unlikely duo on a mission and/or adventure that will take them all over the world. Jones' script is entertaining and well-thought out, offering a long-term storyline that will likely come to a head sooner than later. Bergting's illustrations are simple yet elegant in conveying to the reader the world that the two main characters are traveling through. The Untamed: Killing Floor #1 has appeal for fans of books that delve into realms where magic and bar brawls are more commonplace.

The Untamed: Killing Floor #1 is avaialable now.

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