Not having read the first volume of this series, I approached this one with some trepidation. I should not have worried though. Being only the second volume in the series, it does not have the vast backstory that the Largo Winch book did. And things are explained very well in a couple of introductory pages that fill the reader in on both the story so far and some of the inspiration behind the book from author Jean Dufaux.
The story is not what I expected, which is of course a Good Thing. I was assuming that this was going to be a straight forward adventure tale set in and around the Crusades- I suppose I had Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven in mind. So when the supernatural elements of the tale were introduced, I was a bit taken aback at first. This was my own preconception, of course.
Really, I should have learned by now not to approach any Cinebook release with any sort of preconceived notion about what I was about to read!
And what did I read here?
Well, it is a densely plotted book. There is a hell of a lot going on in this volume. There is a large cast of characters, most of which are in some sort of conflict with another set of characters- and this could easily become confusing. Thankfully though, it is not, and characters are explained and motivations made clear without it ever sounding like exposition or info dumping.
The art is, no surprise here, astounding. Highlights include a jaw dropping double page spread which stops the reader in their tracks and some glorious character design. Chief among them is The Master of Machines, who I am assuming is a character introduced in this volume. He’s like something that’s walked out of a Mad Max movie by way of the inside of Clive Barker’s head.
The plot builds nicely and ends… well, it ends on a great moment. But- and you know what’s coming- not the moment I expected it to.
When will I ever learn? Cinebook do not play by the rules of your everyday comic. In fact, the more of these I read, the more I begin to wonder why people read mainstream superhero books at all…