Reaver #1 (Image Comics)
What do you get when you mix the Suicide Squad with fantasy? You get a little something called Reaver, the latest series from Image Comics. Pairing writer Justin Jordan with artist Rebekah Isaacs, it’s an awesome debut that puts an original stake in the crowded fantasy genre, which has recently exploded like the sci-fi series that Image used to publish years ago.
The realm of Madaras is still in conflict, despite reaching an “agreement” to end fighting years ago. With no end to the conflict in sight, a group of war criminals are tasked with bringing an end to the war on a mission that will surely result in death. Teaming a cannibal, a monstrous hulking fighter named the Devil’s Son, a solider who turned traitor, and more together, this group of mismatched individuals are the only hope for saving Madaras, provided they don’t kill each other first.
Simply put, this book is awesome. Justin Jordan’s script doesn’t waste any of its oversized pages to set up the story and characters, many of whom fit the archetypes you know and love from these stories but in fun new ways. Hell, there’s only been one issue out and I’ve already got a few favorites. Jordan also wisely doesn’t bog the issue down with too much backstory. We know that this world has been at war for centuries, and now there’s a way to stop that war. There’s no huge family trees, no glossary of terms, just what we need to understand the story and that’s it. It’s a great book to just jump right into and enjoy.
I’ve been a fan of Rebekah Isaacs’ work since seeing it on the old Angel and Faith series from Dark Horse Comics, and after seeing her work on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer books for so long, it’s great to see her get to cut loose on a creator-owned title like this. While the Buffy books had their fair share of violence, Isaacs gets to really go all out with Reaver, and depicts some really shocking moments in the opening pages of the book. Her gift for great character designs, which was already impressive given her work on Buffy, is even better here, as she gets to craft some really interesting looks and features for the cast of misfits that we call our heroes in this tale.
I had high hopes for Reaver when it was first announced, and it did not disappoint. This book is going down as one of the coolest debut issues of the year, and the hook is so good that I’m honestly surprised it hadn’t been done before. I’m beyond excited to see where this series goes, and can’t wait for the next issue.