Will just lost his army, palace, kingdom and universe-shaping spell book. Next step? Travel to the Demon Realm where death is near certainty.
With his enemies in pursuit, Willy travels to the Underworld in hopes of making an alliance with his father’s greatest enemy. Meanwhile, his mother reflects upon the events that banished her and her son. Also, Loyal Backstabber’s origins are revealed!
What’s the skinny?
Will’s in deep s--t and saying that feels like I’m putting it lightly. In his efforts to resurrect Wren, he inadvertently removed the defenses around his kingdom, which in turn allowed the undead ghoul wizard Mardok and his legion of space parasites to invade. With the evil Lord Rygol holding Mardok’s lease, the ghoul destroyed the capital city of Zainon and everyone in it. The only reason Will made it out alive and didn’t die alongside his subjects is because his mother, Backstabber and Wren saved his ass.
But Will isn’t without hope — or a plan. In the ashes of his crushing defeat our young Maestros believes he can turn his father’s greatest adversary into his greatest ally. Problem is, this person just so happens to be the Demon King of the Underworld.
There’s a personal connection in the dangerous gamble Will’s taking and he hasn’t chosen this destination out of sheer desperation alone. As a younger man he had a close life changing encounter with the daughter of the Demon King, the ramifications of which changed both his and Margaret’s lives forever.
What’s the catch?
As usual, Maestros is nearly perfect. The only way I couldn’t recommend this is if you can’t handle gore. I’d like to think if you’ve made it to issue #4, though, you know what you’re in for. But just in case you haven’t dabbled in this world yet, watch out, things get gruesome.
Is it good?
As a comic book reviewer and critic I almost start to feel a little disappointed when I’m unable to find something for the artist to improve upon, Almost. Steve Skroce is one of the most talented artists working in comics today. Every time I pick up an issue of his work I know I’m in for a comic that’s a visual masterpiece. The man resoundingly knocks it out of the freaking park every time he steps up to the plate. This week’s issue takes us to Evuntayd, capital city of the Underworld. Inside you’ll find monsters of every type and a horrifying society that’s still a clearly discernible one. There’s a bustling bazaar, vendors selling manflesh (gore, oh the gore), citizens going about their daily lives and even constables. Getting a window into a demon society was easily my favorite piece out of the art department, but there’s a pile of other stuff to enjoy.
One of the best and most frustrating parts of this story for me is all the incredibly interesting characters. I know, I know, I just said having interesting characters frustrates me. In a comic format, though, I know the amount of backstory and time I get with these characters is limited. Will’s mother Margaret is a perfect example. She’s already established herself as a won’t back down, take no s--t, bad ass m----------r, aka coolest mom ever. But hold on everyone, she’s not done just yet. We get to see this woman risk literally everything, pass through hell, and endure injuries that would kill the toughest of people, all to save her son. On top of that she helps shine light on the fascinating character that is Backstabber, the music loving talking sword. This is the perfect example of a character that I’m dying to know more about. I want it all.
I could go on and on about the intricacies of Skroce’s story telling, but by this point I don’t think I need to. Everywhere you look people are raving about this book and there’s good reason for that. We’re given a truly unique story set within a mysterious, frightening and seductive fantasy realm. There’s a cast of interesting characters who despite their flaws, you can’t help but root for — even the ones who happen to be undead psychopaths.
The art is consistently some of the best work you’ll find in comics today. The only thing I can compare it to is Eisner Award winning Saga artist Fiona Staples. The styles are distinctly different, but when looking at both, it’s easy to see it’s special.
It feels like literally anything could happen in the world Skroce has created and we’re only at the fourth issue. Every month I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s a special thing when a creator sparks that sort of excitement in the reader. If you aren’t reading this comic book, you need to be. Do yourself a favor and buy this book, jabroni.