Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colorist: Alex Guimaraes
Publisher: Image Comics
What do you do in the face of an honorable battlefield death? You run like hell. Except, unlike Sergeant Ash Mahan, try not to get caught. Because if you do, the Imperials will make you an offer: execution or a suicide mission with a band of misfits. In the new dark fantasy comic Reaver, Ash chooses the latter. He finds himself venturing into the wastelands to fight the rebels with five other sorcerers, murderers, and agitators. Only they can save the settlements on the newly-discovered continent of Madaras.
Reaver #1 is an entertaining story that unites the best of Suicide Squad with Conan the Barbarian and Game of Thrones. Writer Justin Jordan (Luther Strode) creates a well-defined and likeable assortment of malcontents. I particularly enjoyed the character of Rekala. She is a skin eater with psychopathic tendencies and a sharp wit. Artist Rebekah Isaacs (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) uses perspective and paneling to depict a bleak fantasy world rich in horror and intrigue. The effect heightens the distinctiveness of the characters and foreshadows the ominous threat awaiting the misfits.
On the whole, I think Reaver #1 is original enough to pull off the Dirty Dozen formula. The secret is in the humor and repartee among the characters. The only downside I foresee is that the comic is a bit dialogue heavy in places. Jordan slows down the story with his script, particularly in the first act. But this might just be the challenge of providing enough exposition in the opening issue to make the story accessible. I have felt this way about other inaugural issues that have gone on to be excellent comics.
I recommend Reaver #1. It is a solid buy if you like grim fantasy with a touch of intrigue and humor.