I realize that some of you may not have read the first and second issues of Stranger Comics’ Niobe: She is Life, so I will refrain from giving away too much in my review of Erathune #1. Moving on…
If you’re into fantasy but need a little bit more diversity in your material, then you definitely need to pick up Erathune. In fact, as I was reading the first issue (the second issue is coming later this summer) I couldn’t help but think that this comic is more proof that you can create rich fantasy worlds with diverse peoples, races, and societies.
In Erathune #1, our young heroine Niobe returns but this time she’s an adult and a very good warrior. If you read the Niobe: She is Life comics, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. This time, however, she’s more of a supporting character as the story primarily focuses on a pariah named Buxton Stonebeard, a dwarf prince banished from his kingdom for murder. Buxton returns to the kingdom with his allies Niobe and Skarlok and all hell breaks loose. His other brother is still pissed at him, his father is not well, and there are powerful enemies already in the kingdom making plotting their next move. All the while, we learn that Buxton’s axe is cursed because it demands a soul.
Artistically, Erathune is beautiful. The colors are bold and rich (those first few pages just pop right out at you). Artist Sheldon Mitchell did an exceptional job bringing the characters to life. For example, the inn/pub where Niobe meets with Buxton is drawn and inked so well that I could almost feel warmth from the hearth emanating from the pages.
As for the story, I can see a pattern by writer Sebastian A. Jones. I’m starting to think this is purposeful and it’s just his way of telling the stories. For instance, we learn why Buxton is reviled by his people toward the middle part of the story. Jones definitely gets to the action and hits the ground running. I kept wanting to know more early on. One of the more pressing questions for me was how did Niobe, Buxton and Skarlok end up working together? I’m hoping we can find out more of the backstory on these three in Erathune‘s second issue.
I have to give a ton of credit to Stranger Comics for creating such diverse characters, especially featuring women of color. I’m really digging this partnership between Niobe, Buxton, and Skarlok and I’m anxious to know what’s in store for the three of them.