Leviticus Cross #1 Review

prv1078_covI always like to give the under dog a go. In the comic book field, that means new publishers. It’s a tough market, with even tougher competition, but I admire any creator that puts their creative and entrepreneurial work out there for the world to see.

Newcomer Hays Entertainment’s launch title, Leviticus Cross certainly gets points for a catchy title. If you think it’s vaguely biblical you’d be right, judging by this issue. The prologue recounts for us the story of man’s early days, including the Nephilim from Genesis 6. Created by Seth Hays, and written by Josh Torres, the pair take this often misunderstood verse and run with it. The world explored in this issue is one where mortal Giants and immortal Angels and Demi-gods appear to be feuding relatives. Angels acted as divine caretakers of the earth and its occupants until curiosity got the better of some, resulting in a new breed of humans with angelic fathers, who then decide to recede from the world of man and build their own city, Asgard.

This mythology at the centre of the series is described with much detail here, but serves as an effective backdrop to the main story. If this series is a success, a prequel recounting these events seems likely. The title comes not from some mythical hero, but the capital city of the empire, where the second half of the issue is set.

We are introduced to more than a few characters here, including the blonde Thor, also known as Stormbringer; a revered general who managed to keep the monstrous Nontai Dag at bay a century ago and his lover Princess Jarnsaxa. The main character towards the end of the book is shown to be Naitia, the daughter of a prominent trader in the city, who hides a secret from the superstitious populace.

It seems tailor made for fans of manga and anime and the rapid fire Japanese styling that goes with them, rather than for readers of American superheroes. The art by Hector Sevilla is great, but won’t stand out from a crowded manga market. The character designs are worthy of Street Fighter IV and he draws monsters and men with equal skill. He also manages to render the bustling medieval city with great detail and personality, and the variant covers for the series look fantastic.

This is a 5 issue series and it hasn’t hit its stride yet. There’s some big concepts and a wealth of characters who have yet to be fully utilised, though it’s obvious Naitia and her secret abilities will become prominent in the remainder of this title, especially considering the last page of this ish. It appears that Hays and Torres have thrown in too much in this first issue, but hopefully focusing on Naitia as she welcomes her abilities, rather than hides them, this series will steam ahead. It’s just too much to take in at the moment, with new characters and exposition thrown at the reader on almost every page. With greater handle on pace and substance over style, this series could definitely go somewhere exciting.
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