Image Comics 2015
Created & Written by Rob Liefeld
Illustrated by Matt Horak
Coloured by Ross Hughes
Sworn enemies of the Israelites, the Philistines, led by General Dekani, proved victorious on the field of battle, killing the sons of the High Priest, Eli, and taking the sacred Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is the instrument of the Israelite God, Jehovah, symbolizing the covenant between the creator and mankind.
Samuel, a humble servant of the tabernacle, informed Eli that his sons were dead and the Ark was stolen. Upon hearing the news, Eli suffered a violent seizure and died, leaving Samuel to lead the Hebrews in their darkest hour.
In his first act as High Priest, Samuel enlists the aid of two of Israel’s mightiest warriors, Adino and Lasar, to enter the Philistine capital of Ashod alongside him and steal back the Ark. They are joined on their mission by a ruthless but opportunistic Mercenary named Shammah.
I have to say i’m mightily impressed with the story Rob’s come up with here. There are countless tales of people wanting to steal the Ark of the Covenant and only one final tale that could possibly tell of it’s fate. However here we see a story as much rooted in the old world of worshipers before christianity and the importance all have placed on the Ark. I’m a huge fan of the fact that is more story driven by the Ark and the characters going to reclaim it from those that took it than it is some religious tale.
The characterization is phenomenally good and the way the story progresses is very well crafted. The whole thing rings of a mystery action thriller in the vein of heist movie. As we open with the plan laid out before us seemingly happening at the same time Matt manages to really capture the scope of those past cities. Such opulence and oversized temples mixed with crammed marketplaces and homes very aptly remind you that this takes place so very long ago.
Did the Priest Samuel have a vision of a dream of what’s going to happen? I like that in this point in time they took stock in things such as dreams or premonitions. When we see the reality of the situation however the story takes on a different meaning as if the Ark itself isn’t happy to be housed in such a heathen temple. As a result we see the General come to speak to Kano and this image of him will remain with me for quite some time to come. Matt and Ross manage showcase his fearsome visage and his devout belief in what we see here.
That Kano sees what has happened to the statue of Dagon as something different than the reader does is another sign of fanatical belief. He sees it as his sacrifice was insufficient to Dagon and prepares for more virgins to be sacrificed when as a reader I see it as two religious icons at odds with one another causing the false idol to be destroyed. Perhaps part of me wishes that the god Jehovah’s power in the Ark is real.
Seeing Kano’s plans for the sacrificial ritual for Dagon really does a number on your mind. That these creatures are involved they way they are and appearing more than animal at times is kind of terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time. Could this truly be the precursor to the Coliseum's games? It certainly makes me more excited for the next issue that’s for sure.
This is a much more remarkable story than I thought it was going to be.