Golden Heroes for a New Generation
Sovereigns is Dynamite’s biggest project in years. They are assembling a “Justice League” of their own- a team of Gold Key Superheroes we never thought we would see in monthlies again, doomed to be trapped and reprinted in overpriced hardcovers for all eternity. Dynamite is breaking these characters out of that cycle and updating them for the modern age. Sovereigns #1 starts us off on the journey from the space-dinosaur battles of yesteryear to the newfangled space-dinosaur battles of today. This strong crossover series is a great introduction to long-standing characters, but carries enough of the feeling of the original books to bring original readers back into the fold.
Writer Ray Fawkes is undertaking a daunting mission with this crossover series. These Gold Key characters from the 60’s are new to Dynamite, but their legacy and following is strong. Jumping into this book and trying to catch up on that history, while simultaneously updating these characters through the plot, is a lot to take on. Sovereigns #1 reads as a little disjointed at times for that reason. There is so much information that needs to be packed into these opening issues. However, Fawkes manages to move the book along at a steady pace, even though there are multiple characters, worlds, and plot lines introduced in the issue. It is full of nostalgia and understanding for past fans, but enough backstory and explanation is included to make this a great jumping on point for new readers who may not be familiar with these characters and their universe. Overall, the story seems off to a promising start. As the different threads begin to separate and each character gets a little more focus after their introduction, I hope too see this book work to reinvent and modernize these familiar heroes.
Johnny Desjardins is the primary artist for Sovereigns, and in Sovereigns #1 he hits his stride. This isa heavy book in terms of plot and backstory, but the art shines through and enhances the flow of the storyline. With so much going on, Desjardins’s epic art is proportional to the plot, but clear and concise enough to balance the entertaining stories being launched for different characters in this first issue. As the book jumps between different characters and settings, Desjardins’s versatility is an absolute asset in keeping readers aware of the movement and fast changes.
The retro-modern feel of this book is largely due to the solid colors from Mohan. From deep space to deepest jungle, everything is vibrant and striking. However, where this book truly excels is he lettering- something we don’t hear often in comics. Taylor Esposito, of Ghost Glyph Studios, takes the lettering on this book to new levels. When these Gold Key characters were most popular, lettering was still done by hand and had real personality, a skill that Esposito has modernized in this series. Sovereigns #1 features a completely different lettering style, for almost every character, which is the strongest element in keeping this jam-packed book easy to follow. Different techniques, like graduated captions, stylized bubbles for different characters, and innovative coloring techniques give the text and pages more personality than almost any comic on the racks.
For new readers, this is a big book. I definitely recommend starting with Sovereigns #0 (which isn’t hard- it’s only $1.00). Sovereigns #1 is a more difficult jumping on point than the zero issue, but still possible, especially for readers familiar with Gold Key characters like Magnus, Turok, and Doctor Spektor. If you are looking to jump into a new series, and are finding established Super-Teams a little daunting with the continual numbering changes and new series, this book is a great fit. It introduces a universe of characters that are familiar, but completely accessible for new readers. If you are in for a wild ride through space, dinosaur fights, and world-bending story arcs, Sovereigns #1 is a great place to start.
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