Sword of Ages #1
Many know Gabriel Rodriguez as the co-creator and artist of Locke & Key. If you haven’t heard of him, now is the time to learn his name. Though primarily an artist, Rodriguez’s talents run far and wide and he has not gone unnoticed by the executives of IDW Publishing. In fact, Chris Ryall (CEO) and Ted Adams (Founder, Publisher, and CEO) of IDW have been pushing him for years to create a book of his own. The result? Sword of Ages.
Rodriguez’s full creative control debuts today with the release of Sword of Ages #1. This is the first issue of a six-part adventure mini-series that takes a new spin on the Excalibur myth. Rodriguez started thinking about this story in 2014, hoping to use it to fulfill his lifelong dream of creating his own comic series. As he puts it in an interview at the end of the issue, “This new project is a pinnacle of that dream made real.” Rodriguez’s ambitions combined with detailed artwork and a unique take on an ancient story make the first installment of Sword of Ages as sweet as can be.
Child of the Mountain Forests
Sword of Ages #1 opens with a small family inside a spaceship, hovering over a planet’s surface. It’s not their home planet, that much is clear. Instead, they aim to seek refuge on this red planet. But there’s a giant space jellyfish—what? Alright, I’ll take it.
Flash forward and we’re smoothly introduced to the story of our main character: a heroine dubbed Avalon. Unfortunately, her family didn’t survive the landing years ago, but she did—and she was raised by sapient saber-toothed cats! All at the behest of an old, blue biker dude! Who is this dude? Merlin; the answer is Merlin.
Anyway, we quickly get the feeling that Avalon is a badass. There are few things better than a strong female lead in a series (Wonder Woman, anybody?) and I’m pleased to see Rodriguez’s rendition of that archetype. Avalon is tough; she’s a fighter. But she also has a strong code of ethics that we see employed right away. She’s not aimlessly wandering around. She has a goal and, dare I say, a destiny?
Though we get the feeling that there’s something big going on, there doesn’t seem to be much happening in Avalon’s head. She’s straight-forward and uncomplicated. I’m sure she’s a difficult character to work with, being a strong-willed female youth. But I’m hoping she starts filling the pages with more than sick moves and a tough facade.
Nevertheless, there’s a bounty of other characters to get to know while Rodriguez fleshes Avalon out. There are some blue guys, some green guys, a dude who might be Elrond, some pretty terrible (and obviously evil) knights, and—oh!—don’t forget about that giant space jellyfish! Seriously, there’s enough character- and world-building to forgive the slight awkwardness of Avalon. Don’t fret.
Rodriguez is both the writer and artist of this mini-series. Sure, his story is intriguing. I mean, a space-fantasy retelling of the Excalibur story? Yes, please! But his artwork takes the cake. Each line is purposeful. Though some characters often appear simple and even stagnant, the majority of Sword of Ages #1 is filled with dynamic artwork pieced together perfectly in each panel.
I am most impressed by Rodriguez’s creatures. I mentioned saber-toothed cats earlier, but you should also expect ape-people, horse-camels, a green dragon, and more! It’s pretty cool to see all these strange animals come together in one book. I’m sure the planet is about to be encased in a full-blown war, but I’d sure love to visit!
Lovern Kindzierski is the colorist for Sword of Ages and though most of the colors are flat and far from exotic, they fit well with Rodriguez’s art style. The combination elicits an old-timey feel without being archaic. But some of the wide panels featuring the landscape are nicely done. I’ll give him that.
Though Sword of Ages #1 isn’t perfect, I’m hooked. I love the premise. I love the creatures. And, most of all, I want to see Avalon’s story pan out. Rodriguez advertises this mini-series as an adventure story with classic evil-versus-good tension. We get a lot of exposition and setup in this issue, so I’m assuming we’ll see more movement in the next five. If Rodriguez’s promise is fulfilled, I expect this series will do very well and I’m very excited to be a part of it!
Sword of Ages #1 is one of five comics not to miss out on this week! Check out the other four and let us know which one is your favorite!
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