From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:
Psi-Lords #1 dropped today and if you haven’t grabbed a copy, you need to drop what you are doing and head out to your local comic book store right now! If the first issue is anything to judge by Valiant’s going to kill it with this series.
If you aren’t familiar with the older Valiant Psi-Lords property, don’t sweat it. This series starts from the ground and blasts off with intense action and emotion that will leave you wishing the next issue was already out.
Psi-Lords #1 introduces us to a troupe of strangers imprisoned for unknown reasons and then drops us right into the action. Impressive, partially because Psi-Lords revives an existing Valiant intellectual property that was sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Fred Van Lente and Renato Guedes dust it off and infuse it with glorious life. I’m a huge fan of reviving viable interesting and diverse teams rather than creating new characters. Valiant has shown they can do this and do it well. I’m loving their take on Punk Mambo.
Dear Marvel, please take note (Agents of Atlas – hint, hint).
Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Psi-Lords #1 There May Be Spoilers Below
Publisher: Valiant Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: Renato Guedes
Cover Artist: Rod Reis, Jonboy Meyers, Alan Quah, Marco Rudy, Paulina Ganucheau
Psi-Lords #1 Covers
When launching or relaunching a property, offering a variety of cover art is a great move, provided a team/publisher can afford it. Psi-Lords #1 benefits from Valiant providing a range of covers that are sure to catch the eye of any comic shop browser. It was the art of the standard cover that caught my eye when going over the previews months ago. I’m glad to say that this comic lived up to the promise the cover art made. Except for the blank cover – that particular cover artist is kind of a jerk.
Psi-Lords #1 Meet and Greet:
Reading through Psi-Lords #1 felt much like a grown-up version of reading my first Uncanny X-Men comic (spoiler – I wasn’t even a teen). But trust me when I say, it’s nothing like an X-men book. For one, the amount of bloodshed (mostly Hazard’s fault) in the first issue would have made Xavier cringe.
The premise is simple. What if you were imprisoned because of what you are? That’s the situation four complete strangers find themselves in at the outset of Psi-Lords #1. We are introduced to each of them as someone named Scion reaches out to each of them via telepathy. Their self-appointed psychic guide has a plan for helping them escape their individual jail cells and in turn, asks only that they use their collective power to free him.
They’ve been abducted from their homes, operated on without consent, stripped of their memories, and imprisoned. Lacking memories but power or personality, we learn they each possess unique psionic abilities. Artisan, Hazard, Tank, and Beacon are humans who’ve just discovered they’ve been given God-like abilities but how and why eludes them. Scion promises to tell them all he knows once they free him. For now, that is enough to get them moving.
Once the first cell is breached, Psi-Lords #1, explodes into full-on action and we see the withering levels of power possessed by each inmate as they meet and asses one another. A bond forms instantly; as often happens when humans face a shared enemy. The team isn’t quite cohesive but they work together reasonably well and showcase the making of an epic team. Unfortunately, not everything goes quite as they hoped and they are faced with terrifying knowledge and many unanswered questions.
Art & Writing of Psi-Lords #1
Van Lente doesn’t give us a lot of specifics in this first issue. We don’t know when or even exactly where in the Valiant Universe his story takes place. What he does give us is a connection immediately to the four main characters. He deftly identifies each individual using the entity called Scion. Telepathic communication between Scion and the quartet of inmates allows Van Lente to take us into their minds and learn more about them in a few pages of emotionally intense dialogue, better than any amount of exposition. We see Beacon’s calm logical nature, Artisan’s confidence that borders on arrogance, Tank’s fortitude and will to survive, and Hazard’s instability and inherent violent nature.
Renato Guedes creates an ethereal atmosphere as he takes on all the artist duties in Psi-Lords #1. Even before you see the extent of the environment you get the sense of an otherworldly locale. His art communicates a depth of emotion that helps define each character as an individual. By turn, we feel doses of humor, fear, debate, disbelief, and rage.
Rating: 8/10 Pull List Material
1 – 2 Stars = Take a Pass
3 – 4 Stars = Give it A Look
5 – 6 Stars = Borrow or Browse
6 – 7 Stars = Buy
8 – 10 Stars = Pull List Material
Psi-Lords #1 is impressive enough to convince me to add it to my pull list for the time being. Unless Valiant or the creative team fumbles this hard, I expect I’ll be reading Psi-Lords for some time. The story is intriguing, the art fits the setting, and overall Psi-Lords #1 makes this series look like a real winner. I am certainly willing to see where it goes. I’d recommend this to any fan of science fiction or science fantasy comics.
MAJK’s Age Recommendation:
Valiant lists the rating as T+ and I can see why. I’d recommend an age of at least twelve currently but if this series continues like most of the Valiant series I enjoy, I may up that to fifteen in the future.
Best / Favorite Line & Why
Beacon: “…shows where each of us is from…I am French, you are Russian… Hazard’s American… (explains a lot…)”
Why: As an American, I was highly amused by this line. Trust me, it makes more sense in the context of Hazard’s inherently violent behaviors. On some level, it’s almost a social commentary on the way Americans perceived.