Review - Wailing Blade #1 (@ComixTribe)

"They will hate you."

Every good tyrant needs a good executioner. Every good executioner needs a good blade. Wailing Blade #1 from Comix Tribe has both of the above and then some. The issue is written by Rich Douek, illustrated by Joe Mulvey, colored by Christopher Sotomayor and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Thousands of years after mankind’s fall from the stars, the remnants of humanity live under the brutal thumb of tyrannical rulers who wield futuristic technology that to the masses, is indistinguishable from magic. The most feared of the executioners is the Head Taker, who wields the mighty and unstoppable Wailing Blade – a sword which screams louder than the victims it beheads. Each year, he travels the breadth of the Tyrant’s empire, dispensing justice and enforcing his will. Standing against the Tyrant are scattered clans of bandits, like the Windcleavers. Their prince, Tychon, sees an opportunity to pluck a great prize from the Tyrant’s grasp, setting himself on a path that leads to a confrontation with death itself, and the wailing blade. Will Tychon take the blade, or fall to its might, like all before him?

From the title alone, the book strikes a very defiant tone as Douek introduces the reader to the Head Taker and the powerful Wailing Blade. There's a sense of both mystery and awe at both the character and the weapon, both of which Douek relies on to dominate the atmosphere of the book. All the characters in the world fear the Head Taker courtesy of Douek's characterization of him as solemnly devoted to the task at hand: meting out justice. The latter three-fourths of the book is spent setting up the Windcleavers as a ragtag bunch and--inevitably--their path will cross with the Head Taker. Douek has some slight pacing woes because the issue is so short to being with, but that doesn't stop the script from being sound and hitting hard.

Mulvey's artwork is a great match to the script, primarily because of how it renders the Head Taker. A blade with the legend behind it like the Wailing Blade deserves plenty of illustrative pomp and Mulvey gives it all the force it needs in its appearance. The Windcleavers are also illustrated with an appropriate amount of willpower in that Mulvey uses clean lines and smaller physiques to better represent that figurative (and literal) tall order in taking on the Head Taker at some point. Panel layouts are clean and follow the action easily, ensuring the reader knows what's what and where things are going. Esposito's colors are bright and vivid throughout, capturing the essence of the new world very well.

Wailing Blade #1 has a swagger to it that leans heavily on the main villain being a domineering, antagonistic force. Tychon and the Windcleavers certainly have their work cut out for them in their quest to survive. There's a brashness in Douek's script for the issue that seems to indicate a relatively hard-hitting series. Mulvey's illustrations capture the fantasy elements and give the book a great mix of more medieval settings alongside technological advancements. Wailing Blade #1 is a lot of fun and a strong start to the series.

Wailing Blade is currently available as a free ashcan preview via