Review - The Forgotten Queen #1 (@ValiantComics)

"Her earliest memory: the day two men first fought."

War makes people do strange things and there are many strange things that cause war. In The Forgotten Queen #1 from Valiant Comics, that strangeness is a woman who goes by many names. The issue is written by Tini Howard and illustrated by Amilcar Pinna.

Long ago, the mighty generals of the Mongol Empire rode from Siberia to Carpathia and conquered all who stood in their way. Legends tell of a witch who walked with them, who could infect the hearts of any warriors in her midst with an unquenchable thirst for battle and bloodshed…a War-Monger. And now she is walking again.

Howard uses an interesting narrative style to convey to the reader the significance of the Forgotten Queen in that there's a lot of jumping back and forth throughout time. The present day events are framed by the past history of the Forgotten Queen with Howard leveraging that context as a means of presenting the character to the reader. The Forgotten Queen as a character is one who--throughout history--has made fools of unbelievers and cut a swath through empires large and small. It's very clear that she's immensely powerful and has been involved in countless regimes, but her present day incarnation is incomplete. Howard's dialogue is also great in framing her quest throughout history as it blends narration with disbelief on the part of those around her.

Pinna's art style emphasizes facial expressions the most and just about all of them are angry. Considering one of the names the Forgotten Queen went by was "War" it only makes sense that she's at the forefront of bloody conflict throughout time and Pinna does a good job of showcasing that combat. Panels are arranged in an array of insets and overlays that capture conversation and battle. Pinna also does interesting things with perspective; for instance, there's one shot of a character holding something that looks to be a camera shot from below that makes the item in the forefront feel larger. The colors are a great anchor for keeping the reader informed as to whether they're in the past or present.

The Forgotten Queen #1 is a fast-paced first issue that chronicles the constant power of the Forgotten Queen. She's a character who will seemingly stop at nothing to set the world on a path that mirrors her own vision of how it should be. Howard characterizes her as such in her approach to whipping armies into frenzies and generally pitting one against another. Pinna's artwork captures the savagery of her approach very well. The Forgotten Queen #1 is a pretty interesting jump between past and present in the quest to define a timeless character.

The Forgotten Queen #1 is available February 27.