Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review - Rapture #1 (@ValiantComics)


But the thing is always--and I mean always, prophesying doom and gloom."

Geomancers are some of the most powerful characters created, but even they need some help every now and then. In Rapture #1 from Valiant Comics, the last geomancer Tama is seeking out an unusual group of individuals for help. The issue is written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by CAFU, colored by Andrew Dalhouse and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

On a scarred landscape, two otherworldly armies prepare to battle one last time, vying for control of a massive tower named from an ancient language no longer permitted to be spoken. One army is led by a primeval force named Babel, whose goal is singular: to breach “Heaven” no matter the cost. The only thing standing in his way is a gray-haired barbaric warrior, filled with rage and regret – a man who sees this battle as his last chance for redemption. But he knows his depleted forces have little chance of victory unless aid comes soon. Enter Tama: A 12-year old girl on the crest of a hill overlooking the battle, who has just become humanity’s only hope. The last in an ancient line of mystics who protect the Earth, she has foreseen this battle and knows millions will perish if she’s unable to stop it. Now Tama and her ragtag team of malcontents - Ninjak, Shadowman and Punk Mambo - must somehow defeat an elder god hell bent on piercing the heavens.

Kindt knows that there's a lot going on in Rapture #1 which is why he works to make it so accessible to new readers. Neither the concept of the Geomancer nor some of the characters aren't entirely new to Valiant fans, but Kindt is working to condense a deep backstory into an issue that wants to tackle a lot going forward. Funneling the story through Tama is a great approach as her relatively cool demeanor helps add calm to the impending doom facing the world. The issue moves at very relaxed pace because of Tama's personality isn't one for hyperbole; Kindt ensures the reader knows the stakes without exaggeration. And the cast of characters is definitely a strange mix, but their styles should blend well and offer some very exciting interactions.

CAFU's artwork leans pretty heavily into the mystical in many regards. Most of the issue takes place in the Deadside, which CAFU defines with rotting trees and an angry environment. The characters Tama encounters there are straight out of a fantasy writer's imagination as CAFU infuses the book with a sense of other-worldliness appropriate for the Deadside setting. The modern-world is obviously illustrated in stark contrast and CAFU reminds the reader of that by illustrating with a cleaner look. Dalhouse colors the issue in a way that helps the reader move between the settings quite effortlessly, making even the doldrums of the Deadside look richer in its despair.

Rapture #1 is a set-up issue in every way, but each of those ways still manages to feel fresh. Tama is tasked with the very tall order of saving the world with a team of individuals who normally wouldn't team up with one another. Kindt's script is easy and does a great job of conveying to the reader the stakes faced by the team. CAFU's artwork is clean and does a fantastic job of showing the reader what kind of setting the Deadside really is. Rapture #1 sets the table for what's to come and it's looking like it'll be a lot.

Rapture #1 is available now.

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