Necromancers are pretty badass. I can safely say i’ve always had a soft spot for them, especially since my days of attempting to get one to level 80 in Diablo 2, and reading the Magic the Gathering novels that featured Volrath. Yes, I was that kind of kid. Recently, however, there haven’t been any necromancers that I’ve been obsessed with, but that quickly changed after reading the first two issues of Boom! Studio’s new series, Valen the Outcast. Read on for the skinny….
This comic really starts off with an opening scene that lets you know you are in for some high adrenalin reading. A king, Valen (before he becomes the outcast), is trying to hold off a zombie hoard singlehandedly, and while he manages to go toe to toe with the undead scum suckers pretty epically, he eventually falls while his people escape to safety. Plenty of meat sack slicing and dicing later, the brilliant writing of Michael Alan Nelson introduces you to the crux of the plot: Valen has been turned into a zombie, and is under the control of the totally bad ass necromancer, Vohl. And when I say badass, I mean it. This zombie king, or whatever you want to call him, has the pretty ominous catch phrase, “Life is finite, death eternal!” That may not seem so hardcore right now, but after you see him say that as his way of hanging up his severed head cell phone, you may reconsider.
And if you aren’t totally into this comic yet, the rest of the plot goes something like this: the dead king Valen somehow frees himself from the necromancer’s control, and vows revenge. Pretty awesome, right? What then ensues is the epic quest of Valen trying to win his soul back, and soaking every page of the comic in zombie and human blood alike. Oh, and pig blood. Gross? Not at all… Pure bacon. FYI a totally smoking hot Elektra-like babe complete with a deadly scythe and totally unrealisticfortheamountofasswhoopongshedoes wardrobe helps him. I mean c’mon, you didn’t really expect a comic with gratuitous violence and no scantily clad females thrown into the mix?
The art of this comic is also a huge plus. Matteo Scalera has penned characters that look like life sized Warhammer figures on steroids as seen from a 3 year olds perspective. From the aforementioned severed heads that act as cell phones, to the babe in a medieval style bikinis, highly detailed full page spreads of hammer wielding monstrosities and full on battle scenes, this comic is as much eye candy as it is an entertaining read. At the end of issue 1, when Valen spares the life of some scumbag who sells him out, I thought that the comic might be getting soft… My short term memory was obviously severely impaired as I flipped through the comic about three times after I was done reading it just to look at the sick artwork again.
Being a comic reviewer I get the sweet perk of receiving most comics for free digitally (muahaha), but I am definitely going down to my local comic shop to pick up a hard copy of this series (maybe even multiple editions to get all of the covers) just so I can really look at the awesomely detailed artwork. I am not sure how many comic books I have given 5 skull reviews to, but this is the only one I wish I could give more. I am looking forward to the next issue, and hopefully you will be too after reading this.