Overview

Lady Pendragon #1

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Lady Pendragon #1

Credits

  • Words: Matt Hawkins
  • Art: Eru
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Imaginary Friends Studios
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Top Cow/Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 11, 2008

Jennifer Drake never asked to be a leader but she finds herself in the middle of a war of survival…and it’s magic vs. technology.

There are those out there who may remember writer Matt Hawkins’ original run with his Lady Pendragon series. After years spent behind a desk instead of behind a comic book script he returns to the character for Top Cow’s "Pilot Season". For those who may not have been following – Top Cow is presenting a handful of new "first" issues and inviting readers to vote for a winner. Said winner will then get a shot at becoming an ongoing series. Is Lady Pendragon one that will be a sure-fire vote getter?

Jennifer Drake takes a little time to reflect on the events that have brought her to this place – how the sword Caliburn was found on Mars, how she pulled the sword from the stone and re-released magic into the world, how she was then forced to fight a magical war with forces of evil and eventually was given Excalibur itself, how she won that war but in way, has lost another. Now Drake finds herself the guardian of magic and a handful of followers in a world where humanity has retaken technology and is using it to beat back magic. How magic itself and anyone who uses it or befriends those who do have now become the enemy and how China has emerged to slowly conquer the world. Jennifer has managed to hold on this long but her little group is among the last hold-outs and now she might just find herself facing another war. Does she have the strength to keep going?

Despite a quite good recap of what has gone before in Hawkins’ series, it feels a little bit more difficult to get into this issue. The recap provides a lot of information but it is somehow lacking in emotional investment. I also found that I had a lot of questions about this techno-fantasy clash world that Hawkins has created and none of them were ever really answered. One of the difficulties is the fact that when Hawkins gets to the real meat of the issue he makes it almost entirely one big battle scene – and it is difficult for any writer to get good character development in battle. Likewise, the villain is more yawn inducing than threatening since he appears as merely another "iron fisted Chinese General" stereotype (and don’t think I haven’t noticed that, somehow, evil Chinese Generals have replaced evil Russian Generals as the new villainous stereotypes in a lot of media… can we stop this soon, please?) and those types of bugaboos just don’t make for great threats anymore. Most of all, Hawkins fails to make clear the stakes in this game. It is never made clear if the rest of the world has fallen under repressive rule – if so, is Drake’s group the last true freedom fighters? What are the stakes should she fail to protect her little group? Is it important the magic remain in the world? If so, why? Is there anything for Drake beyond her struggle to keep her band alive? It is hard to get emotionally invested when you do not know why you should care what happens and ultimately there is no sense of that here.

The art provided by Eru is very good, however. He manages to make the chainmail outfits look good and reasonably believable and his sequence with the dragon vs. jet fighters battle is a study in action, ferocity, and beauty. His style is smooth and highly detailed and it really manages to capture a lot of the spirit of the art that often appears on fantasy book covers.

For Lady Pendragon #1 new readers may find themselves a little bit intrigued by the strong protagonist with some nicely believable problems of having leadership thrust upon her and the strong, attractive art by Eru. However, without a sense of where this comic is going and what its aims are there is little to recommend it for an ongoing.

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