Review – Excellence #1 (Image/Skybound)

Excellence #1
  • Writing - 7/10
  • Art - 8/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)


Writer: Brandon Thomas
Artist: Khary Randolph 
Colorist: Emilio Lopez
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Maturity Rating: Mature
Publisher: Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics
Release Date: May 8, 2019

Spencer Dale tries to live up to his name in a world of magic and mystery.

“The System Has Failed” Excellence #1

Spencer Dale’s last name holds weight. The Dales are one of the special family among the Aegis. Each son has wielded magic exceptionally well and Spencer was to do the same upon his birth. To wield magic, help those deemed “deserving” by the unknown masters and to better the world. Spencer didn’t catch on until later in life. Anger and resentment build as the young man finally comes to his final test. With a broken system in place, it is time for Spencer Dale to make a name for himself in Excellence #1.


Excellence #1 (Image Skybound Comics) cover A by Khary Randolph
Excellence #1 (Image/Skybound Comics) cover A by Khary Randolph

Excellence #1 is a larger first issue with 40 pages. Brandon Thomas uses the first half of the issue to introduce us to the main character, Spencer Dale, and his family. Thomas excels at the bringing family plight and relationship issues to life. The beginning of the story is very good at setting up a family dynamic and telling the story through that lens. Even through the end of the story, the whole father/son dynamic is perfectly done by Thomas. It is really a good foundation for Excellence to start on.

The only real problem storywise with Excellence #1 is the whole magic thing. The middle of the story when Spencer goes through his trial had me totally confused storywise. I am staying spoiler-free, but characters pop up that I don’t think we got enough time to really build a rapport with, and honestly, the whole scenario didn’t make much sense. It felt a little jumbled and rushed. It felt like we needed a little better explanation of the “magic” used in this story and what it was all about. There is this feeling that something is just missing, storywise.

I do like the ending and, again, Thomas excels at the family dynamic story of the series. I like what he is building up to and leading to. But we need a little more information on this world for clarity’s sake.


Not going to lie, Khary Randolph‘s name being on the series is what got me to pick up the issue. I am a big fan of his style. It is very uniquely his own and immediately recognizable. Strong, sharp angles and lines, and he gives everything a very “stylized” look and feel. I love his character designs as well. They all look fantastic and every individual is recognizable. He also draws clothing exceptionally well. The way it falls on the body looks very natural.

Randolph also does excellent action scenes as well. He brings out some great “energy” in Excellence #1. The way he structures panels or different shots gives a nice sense of movement or impact to scenes. It feels a little Magna/Anime-influenced combined with traditional comic book sequential work and it is delightful.

The coloring work from Emilio Lopez works well in Excellence #1. It is a little bit “brighter” for the story at times, but Lopez does a great job of switching the coloring to match the tone and feel of different scenes. The brighter coloration also helps bring out some great detail in Khary Randolph’s work as well. 


Excellence #1 is the start of a good series; the story itself just needs a little more clarification on this world, on how it works. The whole father/son family story is superbly well done, it just kind of gets confusing when the “magic” starts happening. I love the overall design of this book and the world. It has that nice futuristic yet “ancient” type feel to it. Khary Randolph does a great job of catching the tone of the series and, while doing an excellent job on action scenes, also catches the emotions of the characters as well. 

While I’m not 100% sold on the whole magic thing in Excellence #1, the story has enough substance for me to come back for issue #2. I think that now the “beginning” is out of the way Thomas will, hopefully, flesh everything out within the next few issues.

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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30


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