Eternal Empire #1 (Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna) drops May 3rd. If you read Alex + Ada, the duo’s previous team up, you already know you should run to your local or find a Hotspot as early as possible on that day.
If you didn’t have a chance to partake of Vaughn and Luna’s first collaboration, you should still do one of those things and make sure you get both of the aforementioned.
I was lucky enough to get a look at Eternal Empire #1 ahead of time and my spoiler-free review could begin and end with the sentence, “I think I’m in love,” but I suppose that isn’t a review so much as a gush and you guys probably want a little bit more.
Eternal Empire #1 is the beginning (duh) of a high fantasy saga. Comics are an interesting format for that particular genre because they are, by virtue of being, well, comics, episodic glimpses into a larger story. I, and I think most fantasy readers, are acclimated to absorbing our epics in doses ranging from “large” to “massive,” assembled into volumes so hefty they can only appropriately be called “tomes” and they add an additional ten pounds to your bag even in paperback. The idea of taking in an epic story in smaller, monthly increments, cliffhanger styles a little different. Refreshing. And definitely lighter.
Issue #1 gives us glimpses of a mysterious Empress, a captive dragon, a sprawling empire, a century and a half long war, and a rebel girl. So many places to go, so many adventures to have, so many secrets to uncover. And, despite the upsurge in female led spec-fic and fantasy, it’s still a sub-genre that’s pretty wide open for exploration and unexpected swerving. I trust Vaughn and Luna to avoid the tropes and clichés that occasionally plague works based on the same framework and give us something spectacular, innovative, exciting.
The art is clean and modern, somewhat at odds with what one would expect in high fantasy art, which tends to be either grainy and “gritty” or highly, highly, highly ornate. And all of that certainly has its place and I enjoy it but the style Luna and Vaughn have chosen works perfectly in Eternal Empire precisely because it’s different and because it’s unexpected and because there’s so much mystery and discordance (and by that I mean class warfare, international conflict, enslavement not that it’s a confusing story) inherent in the plot line.
Vaughn and Luna have also taken the time to figure out the astronomy of their triple-sunned world which show’s an incredible commitment to internal consistency and attention to detail. Also, it’s way cool.
Talk to your shop now, people. May 3rd isn’t all that far away and solicitations should be coming if they’re not out already…