Review – Soulfire Vol. 3 #1

Soulfire is a title about two magical factions – the Rahtumi and the Sethoru – and their struggles in the Kingdom of Anantia where magic seems to rise and fade throughout the eras. Historically these two races have struggled against one another. In the recent history of the series it appears that magic had faded from the world, but has been newly restored. This has led to an era of peace between these two rival factions allowing for hope and revival; however, peace never seems to last. I suppose peace would make for a slightly less than exciting comic if you think about it.

Creator Michael Turner and Aspen Comics bring us Volume 3 of the Soulfire series, written by J.T. Krul, illustrated by Jason Fabok and colored by John Starr. Ever wondered what Tinkerbell would look like all grown up with anger issues and some battle training? Perhaps Soulfire could give you one version of what that could be like. For a closer look at the main characters introduced – or re-introduced if you’ve read previous iterations of the series – keep reading after the break.

Grace is a member of the Rahtumi and while she is happy about the return of magic to the world ushering in an era of peace, she is still clearly seething over the betrayal recently brought against her people. Onyx seems to be the primary recipient of this rage, a member of the Sethoru people and an individual looking to restore their place as rulers. She currently lives in exile from the Kingdom. Her actions will probably have a negative effect on the current peace – call it a hunch.

Finally, we see Malikai, who was the individual responsible for releasing magic back into the world. He's also alone and outside the Kingdom trying to find his way. As someone who isn’t familiar with the history in this series, I have no idea exactly why the Rahtumi and Sethoru are in the fictional Kingdom of Anantia while Malikai is in some Siberian mining town, but it wouldn’t be the first time a fantasy world intersected with our own so I’ll go with it.

Onyx is after a relic in the Kingdom known as the Book of Azer. This book apparently holds the secrets to an ancient Sethoru magical art known as Shadow Magic. Anytime something associated with darkness is used as a title for a type of magic it is a pretty safe bet that it is not “good” magic. Grace intercepts her trying to take the book but is unable to capture her. While Malikai meets a friendly – and beautiful of course – bartender who invites him off the street, Onyx begins a ritual that I’m sure will have dire consequences.

Thus the die is cast. Grace is on the hunt, Onyx seeks a long forbidden magic and Malikai is wondering the streets of Siberia trying to find himself. The artwork in this issue has a classic look to it instead of the clean, almost CGI looking computer assisted work you see in many comics this day. It's realistic but not overly so and for the most part the dark colors set the mood for the impending conflict nicely. The scenes with Malikai explaining his past and his wings formed out of magic are pretty cool and provide some nice bursts of color.

Overall, it took me a while to get caught up with the series – and Wikipedia helped a touch – but now that I’m up to date and reading through this comic again I’m intrigued by what will happen next and what exactly Shadow Magic will consist of. The characters are pretty unique – I don’t remember seeing many winged female warriors battling in a fictional land recently – and in a world where so many stories can seem recycled that alone makes this one worth checking out in stores.

Interiors below and the book should be in stores next week. Happy reading!