Image Comics 2015
Created & Written by Rob Liefeld
Illustrated by Matt Horak
Coloured by Jeremy Colwell
There’s something difficult to do when you are dealing with this kind of subject matter and that’s keep it objective without putting a religious slant to it that fits your own beliefs. To tell it honestly and with a passion without prejudice is what a good writer will always strive for i’m super pleased that this first issue lays the groundwork for a tale a story that tells a tale of the past where written history isn’t accurately available. Rob manages to do it very nicely i’m actually pretty impressed it feels like something you’d see on Nova or the History Channel without a slant for one side or the other.
We open with a Philistine being shall we say interrogated as the location of the Ark of the Covenant. This is where we meet some of the players of this story a band of men led by Samuel. Actually I kind of really liked this in some ways it’s history coming to life in others it’s just an example of man’s struggle with what he believes in and trying to live freely. If this Dagon was really a god to be feared then he wouldn’t have needed to steal the Ark of the Covenant to begin with.
When we see the temple of Dagon we see a world that’s been lost to us for millennia as old Egyptian style houses are shown surrounding the temple which is beautiful except for the large snake statues. This is where we’ll eventually end up with these four men taking on the Philistines to retrieve the Ark.
First however we need to see what led up to this point and Rob starts with Moses and the Ten Commandments. I like that Moses is seen as a Prophet of God we have gotten so far past the original beliefs that in many ways we let Prophets go by the wayside forgetting that Moses acted as he did at God’s behest. This leads to the creation of the Ark to house the Commandments and it’s importance to the Jewish people. Whether or not it really possess the mystical powers it reportedly had, or seen in Indiana Jones, is speculation but it is a symbol of faith and one that fueled a passion in the Jewish people.
I really like this as we see Joshua who is a brilliant military strategist and Samson with his incredible strength. There are many men in the history of the Jewish people who while are portrayed as favored by god are men who are extremely good at what they do so much so they appear to have to been chosen and the lines of success blur how they are seen.
But we all know that the Jewish people have had to fight for their place in the world usually harder than others being targeted time and time again. I can’t stress enough how well Rob handles all this it’s done with respect and as brutal an honesty as can be told without surviving complete records of that time. So with equal time spent with the Philistines and the Hebrews set the stage for why this conflict is happening.
Part historical thriller part action/adventure story this sheds light on a time that we see so little of and it’s really a fascinating look in this first issue. Matt and Jeremy do a wonderful job on the interiors bringing this ancient world to life. They manage to give you a sense of awe and wonder that this era deserves. While it’s a little more anglo centric than I would expect from this part of the world it doesn’t diminish the enjoyment of the story.
I applaud this it’s a wonderful introduction to the series. It has solid characterization, interesting subject matter and a respect for the material without any preachiness that should be read. It really is like seeing a comic book version of something from the History Channel.