Review - Soulfire Despair #1

Despair typically follows hope and in the world of Soulfire from Aspen Comics, that's exactly what's expected to happen when Sarin ascends to the throne.

Soulfire Despair #1 is written by David Schwartz, with illustrations by Jonathan Marks, colors by Siya Oum, John Starr and Teodoro Gonzalez and lettered by Josh Reed.

The second of five issues leading up to the fourth volume of Soulfire boasts a proud Sarin on the throne. His radical new change to bring to the kingdom? Marrying technology with magic.

If literature has taught people anything it's that merging technology and magic together rarely works out as well as planned. It's a lesson that Sarin learns at the hand of his uncle, who takes him to a "world outside the world and a world within us all." It's here that Sarin gets a cruel does of reality regarding his ambitions and a glimpse at a coming evil.

Schwartz handles the writing duties in this one and manages to make Sarin despised. His myopic desire to imbue the kingdom with technology is a shortsightedness that has many seeking revolt and questions Faye's choice of him as king. It's an eventful plot point that could lead to more unrest in the kingdom than anything else.

By the end of the issue though, Sarin has something an enlightening that teaches him to broaden his mind a bit. He's legitimately worried about the safety of the kingdom, only he realizes it will take more than sheer, brute force technology to maintain it.

Marks' illustrations do an effective job of conveying emotion, primarily Sarin's rage. Marks doesn't get to delve into the combat scenes as much as Varese did in Soulfire Hope #1, but what he's working with is equally as impressive.

There are some really cool instances of technology on display in this issue that Marks really seems to have fun with. Even Sarin's opponent in the other world is depicted as this creature of great being, adding to the mythos of the magic in the Soulfire universe.

Two issues into the setup and things are, well, getting set up. Sarin may not be the hardened jerk he was made out to be in the first issue and there may be a legitimate threat to the kingdom. It remains to be seen what role Dex will play in the next few issues, but it's likely to be an important one.

Soulfire Despair #1 is in stores now with interiors below.