Conservative Comic Book Pundit

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wednesday Review 4/20/2005 - Beowulf #1

You can get a preview of this issue here. [Yeah, I know it says #2 on that website, but they're wrong. The preview pages that are up as of 4/30/05 at 9 p.m. are from issue #1.]

This has the appearance of being a great new fantasy series. While a fan of superheroes, my favorite comics have always been the fantasy type (think Conan or Dragonlance comics). Perhaps that is why my favorite superheroes (Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate) tend to be magical in nature.

This new comic shows signs of mixing sword and sorcery fantasy with superheroes. The main character is named Wulf, and we are led to believe that "Wulf" is really "Beowulf" - an immortal who just happens to be in the big city (New York in this case) in our modern times. Currently, superheroes are mysteriously popping up all over the city, and he is seen as some sort of expert on this phenomena.

In this issue, he talks one nascent hero into surrendering after the hero bungles his crime fighting so badly that he endangers civilians. However, some bad guy intervenes and tricks the cops into mowing the hero down. This leave Wulf with the idea something sinister is going on.

There isn't a whole lot of plot in this first issue, but it sets up the world nicely. Wulf gets a bit of WWII backstory, his powers are set up, and a mysterious organization called "The Knights of the Blood" is referenced. The art complements the tale, lending a creepy and world weary effect to Wulf's dealings.

I highly recommend this issue. This sets up the tale well, manages to provide a lot of information about this particular comic universe in a small amount of time, and it sets the stage well, introducing major themes, conspiracies and characters without letting the action suffer.

One odd note: On the solicitation for issue #2 there is this:
In a scene uncomfortably familiar to recent news, Beowulf discovers a facility set up to imprison, control and interrogate these new super people by ANY means necessary.

I just don't get it. The story is entertainingly told and stunningly drawn - it can survive on just those merits. Why do they feel the need to put in minor digs at the Patriot act and the War on Terror? It takes away from the enjoyment of the tale by giving it an unnecessary political subtext.


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