King Arthur meets The Terminator. Need I say more? The passion project of artist Liam Sharp (The Green Lantern, Wonder Woman), Starhenge Book One: The Dragon & the Boar #1 debuts this week. It offers a seamless blend of mythological fantasy and hard science fiction that makes for a wholly unique experience.
From page 1, we’re thrown into a war spanning all of time. As our narrator simply puts it, there’s “timey-whimey s#!t” brewing as the story intertwines the past, present and future. There’s the present-day plot surrounding the young lovers Amber and Daryl, the future adventures of the spaceman Wyllt on his quest to find the Knights of the Veldt, and the ancient past where latent magic determines the future. Across all these time periods looms the mechanical menace of the Cast, and the only hope for our heroes is to reclaim magic from the past to win the war.
The issue throws a lot at you very quickly, but it’s never too overwhelming. By taking familiar ideas and twisting them in new ways, it allows readers to get a grasp on the story while giving them something they’ve never seen before. The story is as much concerned about magic as it is hard sci-fi concepts. There’s new dimensions such as the Hyperveldt, new space-age vocabulary, and new iterations of the Arthurian legends. Every page deepens the world further and tosses out new concepts. The larger thematic thrust about magic is in its infancy here, but core idea of the key to the future being rooted in the myths of the past is such a cool concept. This is a debut that rewards repeat readings to gather all the pieces being laid out.
The narrative gives the issue some great depth, but arguably the biggest draw is Sharp’s art. With this debut, he singlehandedly kicks down the door and unleashes mind-bending visuals. The art tickles the imagination as it blends photo-realism with abstract psychedelics. Sharp’s varied stylistic approach lends each vignette of the story its own flair, but each retains their own similarities that it’s not jarring as we bounce between them. The amount of detail layered across each page is also captivating. It’s easy to become lost in the art and marvel at the craftsmanship on display.
For me, this book is an instant home run. It hits every oddly specific niche I could want in a comic. It’s got rogue artificial intelligences traveling through time, a reinvention of British mythology, and killer art. While not necessarily a criticism, this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Its far-out concepts and abstract visuals might be off-putting to some, but I would encourage anyone who’s at all intrigued by the concept to check out this issue.
Starhenge Book One: The Dragon & The Boar #1 makes for an ambitious debut. The artwork and narrative blend together to make a one-of-a-kind experience. I cannot wait to see where this series goes next.
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