In Knights Temporal, a knight named Auguste ventures deep into the forbidden woods and seems to surface centuries later, still on the trail of an evil sorcerer called Gaspard. A desperate chase ensues, as demons from the past are unleashed in the present.
This issue sets up several intriguing mysteries. What exactly is Auguste’s quest? Who is Gaspard to him? Why does Auguste seek redemption? What are the true intentions of his new companion, the mysterious and magical Jane Foole? Why does Auguste have so many holes in his memory and how did he come to command his blade in the way that he does?
I may be making it seem like the issue leaves dangling threads, but they’re honestly all introduced by writer Cullen Bunn in ways that work within the flow of the story. It also helps that many of these questions are raised in the midst of a fast-paced action scene. The book moves swiftly, but there’s so much to look at on each page that it feels rewarding to give everything a second look.
The artwork by Fran Galán is fantastic. The scenes taking place in the past feel appropriately ethereal, like something out of a Grimm Fairy Tale, but with a grittiness and sense of dark purpose that wouldn’t feel out of place in Game of Thrones. The action scenes have an incredible sense of kinetic energy, using speed lines and perspective to sell the ferocity of a fight (one highlight being a panel where Auguste lands his Chuck Taylors square on the jaw of his target).
The characters are very expressive, particularly Auguste, who seems to be hiding a more sensitive and inquisitive side behind his “stab first and ask questions later” demeanor. As for Jane Foole, it’s easy to see from the jump that there’s so much more going on with this character than just playing the role of Auguste’s guide to the stranger side of the world. There’s a sly look in her eye, a glint of mischief and perhaps something more. It’s a real treat to see the two characters play off of one another, particularly during their first meeting in the woods. Simon Bowland’s lettering also lends different characters more of a distinct personality, especially Jane, who seems to enjoy punctuating her sentences in a bit of a flourish.
The jumps back and forth in time are handled incredibly well, with a clear difference in the pacing and tone of the two time periods. Of particular note is the color of the different time periods, with the scenes in the past having a grey, dirty feel to them, even in the more “mystical” moments. Meanwhile, the modern day scenes feel grimy in a different way, with the city streets bathed in sickly orange hues.
The first issue of Knights Temporal — gosh, I wish I’d come up with that title! — sets in motion an intriguing story that promises to reveal even darker and more interesting twists as it continues. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Bunn and Galán take us.
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