By Scott Allie (writer), Mario Guevara (art), Dave Stewart (colors)

Wow, this was a big surprise for me. Going into this series I had no background of Solomon Kane or his past exploits. I thought this might be some gun-slinging Western book or maybe something similar to Steven King’s Dark Tower, but instead I got a book rooted deeply in Europe’s 17th century. Having lived in Germany and actually been to the Black Forest, I was instantly captivated by the story’s setting.

The opening pages set the tone very quickly. There’s going to be violence in this series – the kind that can only be had when dealing with swords and guns – and the graphic nature displayed should be enough to make you decide if this is the book for you or not. If you’re not privy to seeing guts and entrails or horses getting mauled, then you might want to skip this book. Me? I’m all for it!

Now, after the initial violence dies off, the plot quickly grabs hold and doesn’t let go. We meet Kane’s sidekick, John Silent, and delve into an engaging mystery that could have easily been written off as a “kill the town tyrant” story. Luckily, Scott Allie doesn’t make it that easy. Instead, Allie slowly peels the layers, adding  intrigue and complexities to the story. What surprised me was the Old English used by the characters and just how eloquently the story is written. It’s not Shakespeare, nor is it crazy Thor speak, so don’t fret. Allie seems to have a very good grasp on the story, the spoken languages (English and German), and the pacing of the story.

Equally impressive is the haunting art by Mario Guevara. Normally, this is where I’d chastise an artist for not using an inker, but Guevara’s work here flows beautifully and immerses the reader in Solomon Kane’s world. If you’re a fan of Dore or Barry Windsor-Smith’s art, you’ll be digging the style on display here. Guevara is easily one of the most refreshing artists I’ve come across all year. To say I’m in love with his art is a complete understatement.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. These days, I know there’s a temptation to wait for the trade, but in this case I feel it’s highly justified to reward the creative team (and publisher) for delivering a comic book of such high quality. (Grade: A+)

– J. Montes

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