Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp
Coloured by Jordie Bellaire
OH holy hells bells and whistles. Yeah okay this is that good, I’ve praised Fred’s writing for a while now and I’ve also made no secret that I’m a huge fan of Juan Jose Ryp’s as well and together they bring us the beginning of the Geomancers story. The very first Geomancer to walk the earth and I’m here to tell you that this is why Valiant is stronger today than it’s ever been and isn’t about to go anywhere for some time to come.
Fred is amazing and can write absolutely anything he wants to, I have no idea what kind of research he does for each book or what but I do know the end result is why I keep coming back to anything he’s writing. The way this book opens as we see some giant Warthog type creatures and a woman tied to the back of one and very quickly we are immersed in a very early civilization where we can only guess that most of these words were spoken or heard in the very recent past. The king of the tribe and his advisor or whatever his mouthpiece is represent something to be feared by those whom they approach.
I’ll tell ya something if you aren’t familiar with Juan’s interior artwork, and it is artwork, than you need to see what is in these pages. The look of the animals, the girl and what sets her apart from the regular tribes folk to the King and how utterly fearsome he tries to make himself look it all helps tell a more complete story about the early Homo(whichever) Sapiens that this focuses on. Also what the party encounters right off the bat yeah it’s freaking amazing to behold and almost terrifying to think about coming across.
As I read this I began to see names and things happen that both surprised me and shocked me a bit. This isn’t just the Geomancers beginnings but of something far greater in the Valiant Universe. It’s like watching the Valiant Universe being born, shaped and the actions and events that occur set the stage for a lot of what we already know to come. That’s a pretty tall order for any writer to undertake and let alone make it seem so natural, unexplored and unpredictable but Fred does just that.
I can’t get over how amazing this issue is, the interiors are probably some the best I’ve ever seen from Juan Jose Ryp and Jordie Bellaire they evoke such emotion and feelings even when crossing a vast wasteland where the people seamless blend into the background it all comes to life in such a way you feel like you’re there. Then to Fred’s writing where they all end up in what appears to be a sacred place to pass judgment on Anni, Daughter of Tazel. You see the stage being set for what’s to come and you are so involved and wrapped up in what’s happening you see it all like some play you’ve thrilled to a thousand times but have never seen before.
This is perfection, an epic tale of how a Universe of characters comes to be, the Ultimate Birth of Universe told brilliantly without flaws either in words or visuals.