Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Robert Venditti
Penciled by Francis Portela
Inked by Bit
Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
Who is Commander Trill? What caused his seemingly endless rage towards Aric, the High Priest, and perhaps his very people? To find out, we must go back to the beginning to discover the secrets of...Commander Trill.
To be honest I probably wouldn’t have given this a second glance if it hadn’t been for the Book of the Dead. By the end of that issue I was more curious about Trill than I ever thought I would be so when I saw this I figured let’s give it a shot and see what see. I have to admit that both Robert and Francis are among those in the industry whose work I find myself always enjoying so that was just an added bonus.
I think one of the more fascinating aspects of this issue is seeing the Vine in a completely different light. We’ve primarily seen them as these underhanded slavers who conquer worlds and have this militaristic society that is bent on domination and in seeing Trill’s story unfold before us we get that plus a whole lot more. This look at young Trill going to see his first Bonding Ceremony which lit the fire in him to bond with Shanhara paints them in a more or less normal way. A people of proud tradition waiting for the one prophesied to come among them.
That Francis gets to explore them as a people full of hope and joy in their complete alien visage is a real treat. The double page spread and the odd origin of their species lighting up their eyes it really makes them much more relatable to. That Robert is able to showcase that even though time and again they are denied the bonding with their greatest warriors they don’t give up hope that someday one of their own will succeed is extremely well done. Between the writing and the artwork you really get more of a complete sense of their culture and they seem less threatening and more desperate as any society in their place would. It kind of reminds me of the Maya in many ways.
There’s also the story of the danger in an obsession as well. Vargosh Trill upon witnessing his first ceremony lost faith in Shanhara and found that obsession to become the one who will tame the suit and become bonded with it. Everything he did from that time forward was with the singular purpose of being chosen for the ceremony. So as we see here in this kind of quick recap of his career how he quickly rose through the ranks of his people and we see his blatant desire for the bonding is somewhat his undoing as well.
As powerful as he’s become it’s no surprise that he’s jealous and angry that an Earthman would be chosen to wield the suit over him. He has convinced himself it’s his divine right that he should be the chosen one. This makes him incredibly mad and dangerous. All of this brings us to the present and Trill with his troops, hatred and desire to reclaim what he believes is his. Next issue we see him start his current campaign and I can’t wait to see his evolution from now till the time of the Book of the Dead’s story.
Much more in-depth and passionate than I had expected it to be this is one that has a complexity about it that everyone will understand.