What they say:
Long ago, the mighty generals of the Mongol Empire rode from Siberia to Carpathia and conquered all who stood in their way. Legends tell of a witch who walked with them, who could infect the hearts of any warriors in her midst with an unquenchable thirst for battle and bloodshed…a War-Monger. And now she is walking again.
This winter, an ancient evil will stir as superstar-in-the-making Tini Howard (Captain America Annual #1, Assassinistas) and powerhouse artist Amilcar Pinna (Generation X) unleash hell in a brand-new saga of honor, love, and savagery that’s centuries in the making!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Tini Howard is best known for winning the Top Cow talent competition and her stints on Captain America and Hack/Slash. This time out she took on a creator-owned series and the beginnings are promising indeed.
A ship is searching the depths of the Pacific Ocean for priceless artifacts. The two divers, Erik and Paige, see a wealth of sea life and experience a rumbling sound that forces a torrent of bubbles around Erik. Out of the flume, a hand snatches Erik’s mask, and pair gleaming brown eyes overtake the panel. A comic writers job is to leave the reader guessing within the first two to three pages, and Howard does that very well.
Vexana is a captive in the court of Genghis Khan. She has an ability that forces people to fight whenever she commands. We learn that the people call her ‘War Monger’which is a fitting title for a woman who instills violence in everyone she meets. The Khan is intrigued by the witch and keeps her around. She tells him about how long her life has been as well as the fates of other empires she has seen.
Back in modern times the vessel Lohengrin is still recovering from the electrical disturbance that has claimed the life of veteran diver Erik and given the young intern Paige quite a scare. ‘Eyes the eyes, they were like a human’s eyes…’ Sarnai, the rich financier of the Lohengrin, dismisses the event as more lost time and forces the crew back to work and insists that she will dive Erik’s body herself.
Vexana has become accustomed to living in the court of the Khan. She relays her entire history with death. Beginning with Kain’s murder of Abel and leading up into her own time as a warrior. She incites a violent fire inside the Khan’s army that burns across the desert and places their leader in the history books.
As Sarnai searches the location of the disturbance, she encounters Vexana, who she refers to as ‘My Queen,’ before returning to the surface with the mangled body of Erik. The final panel is the War Monger Vexana alive and well at the bottom of the ocean.
An excellent start for a different kind of hero. I left a twist hanging, but I feel it’s best to let the reader have something to discover for themselves. Tini Howard is an excellent fit for this type of story. Her love of sparsing flashback with current events is a decent way of engrossing the reader in the story. It makes them feel like they discover things at the same time as the protagonist. Pinna’s work is unfamiliar to me, but his lines and color choices fit the scenes well. A considerable portion of the book occurs underwater, and the sea life and backgrounds are a pleasing addition.
Age Rating: T+
Released By: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: February 27th, 2019