8House Arclight #1
Writer: Brandon Graham
Art/Colors: Marian Churchland
Letters: Ariana Maher
You wanna know what's really beautiful? THIS BOOK! You want to know why it didn't get more press before it's release? SO DO I! Absolutely continuing Image Comics trend of releasing incredible creator owned titles, 8House Arclight provides whimsical dialogue with some truly gorgeous visuals to produce an enigmatic fantasy tale. The story is written by Brandon Graham has worked on a whole mess of somehwat obscure titles including Multiple Warheads, Hit the Beach, King City, and most noticeably, Prophet (great stuff, check it out).He has teamed up with Marian Churchland to produce this killer book. Churchland has worked on all kinds of stuff including the aforementioned King City, as well as Madame Xanadu, Northlanders, and primarily Elephantmen. Gaze at her stunning art here!
This plot is more of a see it to believe it scenario, but here we go. Lady and her knight/guard Sir Arclight are exploring the outskirts of the Blood House Lands in hopes of finding a cure for Lady's corrupt appearance. Evil and magic have combined and the result is Lady losing her original body. Now, with Sir Arclight by her side, the two set out to use some magic themselves to cure Lady's malady. Various attempts are made, but all in vain, as Lady remains monstrous. However, whatever took her body is out there, and may be closer than they think.
Graham throws new concepts into the fantasy genre, all of which are unique and worth a look. Most notable to me is the stone statue Kainek, who guards the Mecca of Scerce-Miasta by denying passage to those who don't pay the blood toll. Intrigued yet? The mystery behind what caused Lady to become what she is flooded my mind as I was reading this, and will continue to until it is resolved. There is also a great dichotomy being produced in Lady, who may appear unpleasant, but is constantly pleasant and calm, despite her situation. We also see a network of individuals (with Sir Arclight among their numbers) with a fatal sense of competition between them. Who this cast is and what their roles are in this world has has not yet been revealed, however each one seems important and makes the fantasy environment even more curious.
Churchland's art adds to the charm as she produces a sprawling environment that captivates the reader in a big way. Many areas of this fantasy world are populated by gorgeous woods, caves made of trees, and unique architecture. The architecture becomes even more apparent (and impressive) once the city is entered. Here we see columns and buildings that are intricate while still maintaining simplicity. I'm not sure how it works, but it totally does. In this issue we also receive our first minor introduction to the creatures that are in this world, and oh what a strangely heartwarming introduction it is! Character wise, Lady is creepy. Truly, she looks unpleasant and made me a bit uneasy. Sir Arclight, on the other hand, almost glows with strength and confidence. This knight as well as some of the characters introduced later are very interesting, as the armor and garb that is worn gives a hint of the gender neutral, which I can only assume is on purpose. One thing is for certain, all of these human characters are gorgeous!
There you have it! A small taste of 8House Arclight #1. Definitely check this book out, ESPECIALLY if you like fantasy. With eye popping art, intriguing characters and a story that makes you very curious about what's going to happen next, there isn't much not to like. Graham and Churchland's team-up has started a real not to be missed, genre innovating series! Oh and here's some food for thought: this is actually the first in what is going to be a series of 8House comics, all written by Graham. This first issue is only $2.99 and was released just this past Wednesday, June 1st. Check it out!