"Pursuit" & "Abduction"
Writer: Sean O'Reilly
Artists: "Pursuit" - Eduardo Garcia (p), Ricard Plata (i); "Abduction" - Ramses Melendez
Publisher: Arcana Studio (http://www.kade.ca/)
Kade is the story of an orphan boy, taken in by monks and trained to the highest levels of weapon skill; they also hid him from the "Dark Lord" Apollyon due to an ancient prophecy that implies Kade will topple Apollyon and restore freedom, liberty and the Canadian Way to the world. The main story in this book, "Pursuit", kicks in after the monastery has been destroyed, with Kade left to die...but Kade has a medical complaint that he cannot feel anything through his nervous system, neither pain or pleasure, and he survived, dragged himself out of the wreckage and vowed vengeance, thus setting himself on the path against Apollyon.
For a first issue this sure feels like there was a previous issue or series which has been missed - a one-page intro sets the scene (although much of this information is also repeated within dialogue and captions in the comic too) and the overwhelming impression is that the creators wanted to get on and tell the guts of the story rather than mess around with the backstory. The jury is out on this decision, part of me wants to see those early days depicted - show, not tell - either upfront or in flashback form, leaving Kade more mysterious than he is when we first encounter him. A short digression - the "Abduction" short at the back of the book is taken from an animated version of Kade, telling of some of Kade's adventures during his time at the monastery, so maybe that will fill in the bits I yearn for?
So to the story we do get. Kade has a name and vague location of the previous Dark Lord - Kamric. More a Light Lord than a Dark Lord it seems, as Kamric was pretty much a good guy, ruling over the place with a light hand and generally being a good egg. Apollyon did the dirty on him, and Kamric fled into hiding rather than be killed...can Kamric help Kade overpower Apollyon? Can Kade even find Kamric? What does the mysterious and beautiful Ravyn have to do with any of this? A good, solid plot to build upon, then, situation dire, an ally or two for the finding, and a nasty cliffhanger. Very nice art throughout, excellent atmospheric colouring, and you'd think you'd have an unqualified recommendation.
Just a couple of points bring the issue down, and how much they annoy you will affect your perception of the book. The main point is that the writer is also his own editor. This (possibly) explains several sequences in the book which an editor would normally say "woah woah woah, back up a minute". For example, a couple of times in the combat action scenes we have the phrase "a fatal mistake"...which should mean that the person making said "fatal" mistake dies - or at least is at death's door...nope, that doesn't happen. The mistakes turn out to be minor...or "potentially fatal" at worst. Secondly there is a massive overuse of captions - some of these reflect the art in the panel they are attached to, and that's just not good storytelling...if you can't tell from the art what is going on, then change the art...if you can tell, then drop the words!
Finally, Kade gets heavily injured in an early fight - okay, I'll buy that he doesn't feel pain so it doesn't affect him in battle, but afterwards why isn't he bleeding all over the place? How can his body just carry on as if nothing had happened, even if he can't feel pain his body should carry the effects of the fight? Nowhere is it established that he has a healing factor or whatever, yet after this huge fight where, and I quote "claws separate flesh, blood flows freely from the wound" and "kade's injury would have rendered anyone else helpless...but the injury only left him a bloody mess" - the very next panel it's clear there's nothing wrong with him! An editor should've picked these points up and made the changes, simple things to do but it would've given the book an extra bullet and a totally unqualified recommendation.
As it stands, then, a qualified recommendation - the book is worth buying for the art and the potential in the storyline (especially for fans of, say, Sojourn) but it just needs a little something extra to take it to the next level. Here's hoping issue #2 delivers that extra.
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