Review - Soulfire Hope #1

Aspen's Soulfire universe is filled with wonders and magic. It's also filled with royal politics and life-threatening magic entities, both of which collide in Soulfire Hope #1.

The issue is written by J.T. Jrul, illustrated by Jose Varese, colored by Brett Smith and lettered by Josh Reed.

Faye is alarmed by the lack of magic, while Dex seems to think it's not their problem. She was set to marry King Arlin until his death at the hands of a traitor, leading to the always exciting free-for-all to determine both a new suitor and king.

Arlin's son Sarin is one of the prime contenders for the revently vacated crown. His brashness is reminiscent of King Joffrey, only without the accompanying penchant for being a jerk. He's laying waste to the competition thanks to a desire to "cheat" by mixing magic with science. Faye's faced with a tough choice at the end, which will likely come back to be the wrong one for so many reasons.

At its heart, Soulfire Hope #1 is just as much Game of Thrones as it is magic. There's a lot of politics at play here, with Faye playing the role of the reluctant queen seeking to protect her people, while Sarin is the brash youth who thinks the throne is his by right.

Dex is an interesting character thrown into the mix, as both the love interest of Faye and the best-equipped to handle being king. Of course, with him as king there'd be no conflict and therefore no story, so where's the fun in that. Krul manages to present the brewing tensions effortlessly, keeping the reader interested.

Varese's illustrations are strong, successfully depicting a world of magic, fairies and armored battles. There are some great battle scenes depicted playing out in the arena. One of the stronger points of the art is the illustration of armor the combatants are clad really adds a medieval sense to the story that helps you stay in the fantasy realm.

Soulfire Hope #1 is the first of Aspen's individual shots across the bow of their universe. This summer is gearing up to be a big Soulfire summer and it's safe to say the first issue gets things going nicely. Watching Faye rue her decision regarding the king will be interesting as it unfolds. There's also the spectre of Malikai looming, which means the change in magic in the realm will be equally interesting.

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