This was my first issue of Valen the Outcast and I have to say I’m somewhat intrigued by it. I know the premise, Valen was killed but now is something of a zombie and has a different path to follow now, since he was once a former King. I love zombie stuff but this isn’t your typical story. Valen has his memory, skills and apparently no love for eating flesh though he is undead. Okay I can deal with that, more so since this seems to be taking place in a Conan type setting. Swords and kingdoms with raiders and places that aren’t safe to wander at night.
I’ll be honest I’m surprised I haven’t been reading this day one since I am an absolute fan of his work on 28 Days Later, which by the way was one of the all time greatest series I’ve had the pleasure to read. Here in one issue he’s given me enough personality from each character to make me like them and keep me coming back to see what happens next. Not to mention go back and see what has happed thus far.
Cordovan comes across as a brash womanizing rogue but there is something just beneath the surface that I would like see. Almost a noble man who would do anything for his friends and yet he hides behind this façade for now. Zjanna is a sisterless Amazon type who left her people when Valen became what he his. Apparently if I am reading this right she is in love with him as well. Then there is Valen himself who shows valor, honor and cares about those he travels with and isn’t afraid to use himself and his condition to their advantage.
The Foxes or Skulks are very much like Amazons in that they are tribes of women warriors who keep men as slaves for breeding. Ruthless and relentless they hunt their prey down as we see here. Only things don’t go completely as planned. Valen tried to fight them to give his companions time to flee but that didn’t work out either as they removed both his legs and an arm from him.
While Valen is putting himself back together, I’m not quite sure how that works to be honest, Zjanna is about to be tortured by the Highmother who wishes her daughter to be more aggressive and less well soft. I’ll tell ya what by the time it was all said and done I cheered when Fiona killed her mother and became a traveling companion of the group.
I dunno there is something here that captures the imagination as well as warms the heart in some ways. I like how this group seems to be a family and from what I’ve seen in this one issue that bond is strong. Count me among the new followers of the Outcast and his crew.
Matteo Scalera’s illustrations seem to fit this world nicely. Though I would like to see Valen looking a tad more like an abomination but that could just be me. Archie Van Buren’s colours really bring Matteo’s art to life nicely. The world they have created visually manages to enhance the words just right.