Dark Horse Comics 2015
Written by Randy Stradley
Illustrated by Doug Wheatley
Coloured by Rain Beredo
Lettered by Michael Heisler
A ritual mass murder in the mountains of Nevada manifests Canthastius, an unthinkable obscenity from a dark universe ushered into our world by King Tiger’s own father. The hideous entity’s manifestation can be sealed only by the blood sacrifice of the half-demon Tiger himself, allowing the malevolent leviathan to wreak destruction and chaos. But Tiger is not alone, and love may triumph where even great power might fail!
What an incredible story this is. There’s something incredibly fun and wickedly entertaining about a man who bucks his family and destiny to be his own person. Tiger’s will and fortitude in the face of danger cannot be overlooked here. With his own unique supporting cast as well this story is proving that the heroes of the Dark Horse Universe deserve their place in superhero comics.
Randy has such a knack for writing and getting us into mindset of those he writes about and with Doug’s visuals it all comes together in such a beautiful and powerful way. As we see more prominently this issue that something born of such darkness can hold such light is a beacon for everyday life and the struggles we all face. That’s even more powerful for a reader to see and grasp in my humble opinion.
Doug’s ability to take his siblings and make them these hideously interesting twisted versions of a union between man and woman keep us on the edge. They are so demon spawned that it makes seeing Tiger the perfect blend of the two an even more frighteningly prospect. Rain’s colouring especially of the orange glowing entity trying to emerge in our plane of existence only heightens the tension built up around what’s happening.
Even after all she’s learned Rikki isn’t about to give up on her boyfriend and that is a testament to the man he is. Even if he didn’t confide in her the way he did in Lookfar she still knows his him and his kindness and gentleness outweigh anything that’s been revealed about his creation. Then there’s Milo who in all honesty I wrote off in the beginning as a throwaway character but has since proven his own loyalty and worth as a character and a person of an upstanding nature. These three backing Tiger’s play really go a long way in helping to really draw you into the world they inhabit.
Speaking of that world that we see Project Black Sky taking notice of these events it only strengthens his ties to other characters like Captain Midnight, Skyman and X that they really have one of the strongest and most unique universes that still beg to explored today. That he totally fits into a world with those characters so well amazes me with little nuggets like this one. Though now that he’s on Project Black Sky’s radar I can’t wait to see what happens with all this in the future.
Tiger still has to survive this encounter though. With the revelation of who Canthastius is i’m excited to see the showdown next issue. Also I have this feeling regardless that his father and whatever siblings may remain will slink off into the night only to rear their heads again when least expected.
There’s that certain quality to this book where the reader gets lost in it, cheers for both the champion and the villains because you want both to come back time and again to square off. It makes this fun, fresh and interesting even while feeling familiar and comfortable like that old friend or warm blanket on a winter’s day. You also get the sense there’s so much more here we’re not seeing and that kind of potential is exciting.
This is the emergence of a character into the mainstream in a strong and powerful way.