I didn’t think it was possible to be blown away by a story issue after issue but Valen the Outcast consistently has me at a loss for words. In the latest issue, Valen and his companions continue on their epic journey for an undead king’s soul, tightening the straps on the reader for a fast paced thrill ride that only Michael Alan Nelson can provide. BOOM! Studios has something amazing on their hands.
When I began reading “Valen” I must admit that I was a little lost as to the background of the story and I did not quite know who everyone was, but I continued reading because of the non-stop action and potentially awesome story line. It’s safe to say that after this issue all questions about the three protagonists are answered, or at least answered enough for me to get a real sense of the world and background of the story. The characters continue to develop on every single page, allowing for a more realistic connection between the reader and the odd group of heroes; I have begun to relate to the situational emotions felt by the characters, and that is not an easy task to accomplish. This is usually something you get out of bigger fantasy novels, but not something you often get out of comics, largely due to the fact that they are so much shorter.
Like in past issues, Matteo Scalera’s art in this book has be unique and fresh. It has a sort of cartoony look to it with very clean lines, and a very animated aura that is prevalent during dialogue. However, as soon as the fighting starts, the animation kicks into a more rustic/sketchy style that really gets into the battle. Similarly with the art, Archie Van Buren’s colouring and shading changes between dialogue and battle; very bright colours and clean shading when the characters are having a little chat but as soon as swords clash and blood sprays, the colours become darker and more contrasted while the shading takes on an extra depth that really captures the eye.
Fantastical stories tend to become compromised when the undead horror aspect is meshed into it, but this simply is not the case in “Valen the Outcast”. For anyone who has not been reading this series, best get started now. I am eagerly awaiting subsequent issues with mouth-watering apprehension.