Book of Death #1
Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Robert Venditti
Illustrated by Robert Gill & Doug Braithwaite
Coloured by David Baron & Brian Reber
FOR MILLENNIA, the Eternal Warrior has protected the Geomancers–enigmatic mystics who guide mankind and protect the Earth. But the arrival of Tama–a new Geomancer from the future– has caused great division in the Valiant universe…especially as she carries a book that charts its end….
I love how this book opens as we meet David a young boy who has the power to communicate with the animals around him. In the backyard we see him with frogs, mice and snakes all over him and he’s thrilled by it he can hear everything singing. I wonder if this is what it’s like for a child to come to realization that they are a Geomancer, with Kay’s death a new one will have to rise after all for there is always one. There’s something magical here with the visuals when we see him so happy to hear the singing and to have the wildlife like him. It’s a powerful image to be honest and it’s beautifully done.
A month later halfway across the country an armored strike team enters the city of Ashlee Wyoming only to find one of the more horrific scenes they’ve ever encountered. The two page spread is breathtakingly painful to see but the way it’s laid out and what we see between the trees in the background well all I have to say is this is what I consider to be some award winning artwork. It’s powerful, mesmerizing and all kinds of disturbing and yet it’s a perfect catalyst as well for what we are about to rea.
It almost boggles the mind that Neville and Colonel Capshaw who’ve worked with Gilad for some time now don’t believe in him or what he’s saying and instead immediately jump to the wrong conclusion and won’t alter their perceptions. His teammates as well are not seeing things for what they are and even after the event that killed Kay it should be a given that they’d trust and listen to him but alas it’s the voice of government agents to jump to the wrong conclusions and not listen. It’s one of the reasons why our governments so much anymore.
Tama the Geomancer from the future is on the run with Gilad though not too hidden if Aric can find them so easily. I love their exchange and when you’ve lived the life Gilad has it’s easy to see why he understands that governments and normal humans can only grasp the small immediate picture and not the larger far encompassing one. Tama has the book she brought with her from the future, what we’ll call the Book of Death, as it depicts the fall of mankind and how the heroes fail to protect this planet from what looks like it’s current fate. Gilad needs to know more and understand what’s happening and the clues are in that book.
Though the real big bad guy remains hidden from our view his instrument does not and what they are trying to do well it’s truly frightening. Manipulation and fear are strong ways to motivate one as young as David the boy we met in the beginning of the issue and here we see how easy it was for that to happen, at the results not the actually occurrence.
With the events of this issue that his teammates don’t see what’s happening before their very eyes and give Gilad the benefit of the doubt well that’s a shame and can they come together in time to find out the truth together or will this division really signal the end of mankind in the Valiant Universe?
This is what a sweeping epic story is point blank. This is the kind of company wide crossover that larger companies aren’t capable of producing. With strong, gripping and powerful storytelling with some of the cleanest, incredibly well detailed and stunning interior artwork that’s full of life and emotions this is THE event of the year!