Image Comics 2016
Created by Nathan Fairbairn & Matt Smith
Written, Coloured & Lettered by Nathan Fairbairn
Illustrated by Matt Smith
It is 1220 AD, and the gears of the Albigensian Crusade grind on. When an alien spacecraft infested with a horde of bloodthirsty predators crash-lands in the remote wilderness of the French Pyrenees, a small band of crusaders and a Cathar heretic are all that stand between God's Kingdom and Hell on Earth.
Who doesn’t love a good Medieval tale? Knights and Squires and a mad Monk and a countryside ravaged by creatures from outer space it doesn’t get more eclectic than this. I don’t know what the boys were doing when this idea was created but I wouldn’t mind being there next time they do whatever it was, ahem.
This is a double sized issue so it’s forty four pages and a perfect opportunity to really get this story started with a longer introduction to the characters and the world they inhabit. Nathan really does a wonderful job in getting into these characters mindsets and giving us the opportunity to know them.
I’m in love with the opening what Matt does here is beyond anything I could have expected. I mean first the man sleeping with his sheep as if that weren’t cliche enough to see what he sees yeah that was spectacular. The mix of the two really stands out and the use of colours to highlight it’s fall from the sky well that was impressive. Also I’m a fan of the way the story flows through the pages and panels, the use of perspective and angles and the strategic use of backgrounds really give us the bigger picture of where they are. Oh and anytime we see an older curmudgeon Knight with his pants around his ankles and a nice uncut one showing i’m happy. Also the creatures showcase great use of imagination and creativity as well not showing them till later so the drama is heightened before we get a good look at em.
This traveling band is one of the more unique and eclectic groupings around. With Raymond, the older curmudgeon Knight, the younger boys of which one is a new Knight though the rest seem him as a boy playing a role, and most importantly the Monk yeah with along with the others they really make this fun. It’s almost like a dark harsh Monty Python skit so i’m laughing and enjoying the heck out of the dialogue.
I do like that there are characters you do like, want to like and can’t help but hate. The way the dialogue and story are written it’s clear who’s who and why they are like that. Raymond has seen too much it’s left him jaded and cynical, Theobald the young Knight with his companion full of hope and optimism. The contrast in them is wonderfully shown. There’s a sense I get between them that Raymond sees himself in the young lad and that may come about, or not, either way it’s something to keep an eye on.
That Monk is the one we love to hate because he’s just perfectly written that way. In this time his very presence is both expected and repulsive as his devotion to the church blinds him to all else. His attitude alone makes me hope that sooner rather than later he meets the demise he so readily dismisses. Though another part of me wants him around more because we need a good guy to despise who is blind to the truth and speaks out of turn. In others he spices up the party with his nonsense.
This is a great debut issue. The characterization is phenomenal and the story itself is unique, interesting and filled with things that shouldn’t work together but do. Why we haven’t seen a well done period science fiction-horror piece is beyond me. Kudos to the boys for their creativity and originality.