Sovereign #1 and #2: Foray into High Fantasy Fun
High fantasy concepts have been known to amass hordes of devoted fans, myself included. Image Comics would certainly be damned to the seven hells if they weren’t part of the epic passion created by the genre, and luckily they do the gods justice with their newest entry, Sovereign.
Written by Chris Roberson, Sovereign is part of a literary tradition which includes The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time or current powerhouse series A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones for you TV-only folks). Like its fore bearers, Sovereign’s story effectively creates its own empire with a rich and rooted history, conflicting spirituality and, of course, numerous acts of wondrous magic.
The introductory issue sets up three concurrent narratives: a trio of luminaries on a quest, a warrior horse-lord prince who has been informed of his father’s death, and a skeptical scientist traveling on the seas toward “The Capital” who is constantly challenged by the arcane events that seemingly surround him.
In the second issue, we return to the three wise men on their way to the king’s pending funeral, occasionally stopping to use their gift of necromancy and assist in rituals for the dead. Meanwhile, our warrior prince arrives to pay homage to dear old dad and consequently fights his brothers for the position on the king’s empty throne. The young and cynical scientist fights seasickness and– although underwhelmed initially by its landscape–delights at the thought of walking on the Capital’s firm ground where he will further challenge his rationalist ideals.
The story is a slow burn, carefully revealing new and interesting pieces of this giant puzzle. Unique creatures and magic pop up with every turn of the page. It’s hard not to feel fully engulfed by this dark and enchanting setting. While I enjoyed the strong character development and the world-building of the first two issues, I was confused by Paul Maybury’s illustrations at times. I often found myself wondering what kind of beast I was looking at or exactly whose dialogue bubble I was reading.
The first issue creates an interesting set-up but did not necessarily entice me right away. However, by the second issue, the story began to unfurl into the thrilling type of fantasy adventure I’ve come to enjoy. I’m on board with Sovereign and shall prepare my arcane rituals accordingly.