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'Battle Chasers' #10 proves a very welcome return
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Comic Books

‘Battle Chasers’ #10 proves a very welcome return

After 22 years, ‘Battle Chasers’ picks up right where it left off.

*hem hem*

PREVIOUSLY, IN BATTLE CHASERS: The world’s in for a wild ride, and no ride will be wilder than the one experienced by an unexpected gathering of heroes—Gully, a bright-hearted kid whose inherited her allegedly heroic father’s legendary magic gauntlets; Garrison, a peerless swordsman and widower emerging back into the world; Knowlan, a master mage whose past wants a word; Calibretto, a gentle-souled war machine; and, semi-officially, Red Monika, a master thief who shares a fraught closeness with Garrison.

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Gully’s trying to determine whether or not the would-be conqueror Sebastius Nefar—who claims to be both her half-brother and to have been grievously wronged (read: enslaved) by their father—is telling the truth. Callibretto’s supporting her as best he can. Knowlan’s been warned by the corpse of a former companion that an old enemy is back in play and wants revenge. And Monkia and Garrison are in the crosshairs of the Martial Paladins—Garrison’s former order, now big into magically-empowered megacreeps.

Iconic series 'Battle Chasers' returns with issue #10 this June

Image Comics

It’s been more than a minute since Battle Chasers last appeared in comic form. Created, illustrated, and written by Joe Madureira in 1998, the original run stopped on a cliffhanger in August 2001’s issue #9. Now, almost 22 years and one quite fun 2017 RPG (that I’d like to play more of) later, issue #10 picks up right where the series left off during Shrub‘s administration. Madureira is joined by artist Ludo Lullabi, who takes over illustration and colors. Richard Starkings and Tyler Smith of Comicscraft letter.

Right off the bat, it’s so much fun to have Battle Chasers back. I’m very fond of Joe Mad’s original run, which I discovered in college, and while issue #10 demonstrates Madureira’s significant growth as a writer (especially during the book’s quieter moments, which now match its book-shaping action scenes in confidence), it also proves the energy and verve that make those first nine issues a treat has not diminished in the intervening years.

The majority of issue #10’s action takes the form of a chase—Garrison and Monika fleeing from the superhuman Martial Paladins. Lullabi’s compositions capture both geography and motion well—and he’s a deft hand at rendering the diverse ways in which his cast move.

Iconic series 'Battle Chasers' returns with issue #10 this June

Image Comics

The Martial Paladins move as unnaturally as they fight—some lumber, some slither. All are powerful—overwhelmingly so. Consider the above page. Monika’s henchman Akiman is clearly a fast, strong, skilled fighter. And against the inhuman might of the Martial Paladins, he might as well be a baby newt.

It’s strong work on Lullabi’s part, and his work pays homage to Madureira’s while still being his own—his faces are gentler for instance, which Madureira makes good use of during Battle Chasers #10’s quieter moments.

Indeed, those quieter moments (though Battle Chasers being Battle Chasers, they include Gully squaring up with some overbearing guards) are what really got the series’ hooks in me again. The tension between Garrison and Monika and Gully’s doubts about Nefar (who, even handless and imprisoned, remains dangerously cunning), and her father are compelling. I want to see where Lullabi and Madureira are taking Battle Chasers—how the cast will handle the chaos that’s starting to break, how they’ll fight, how they’ll come together. And action-wise? I’m excited. With most of #10’s action being a prelude (all the way up to its cliffhanger), and that prelude being exciting, kinetic comics, the brawls proper look to be ones for the books.

My big caveat in recommending Battle Chasers is that it is very much a right-into-the-deep-end comic. There is a helpful recap page at the beginning, but folks who are curious about Battle Chasers are better off starting with the original series or Nightwar.

It’s good to have Battle Chasers back, and it’s darn good.

'Battle Chasers' #10 proves a very welcome return
‘Battle Chasers’ #10 proves a very welcome return
Battle Chasers #10
It is so much fun to have Battle Chasers back. Ludo Lullabi's illustrations are very fine, and Joe Madureira's script carries the energy that made the original comics so much fun alongside some welcome breathing room for the cast to grow. This is going to be fun to follow.
Reader Rating0 Votes
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Ludo Lullabi carries the spirit of Joe Madureira's original run forward while proving a deft hand at the book's quieter moments.
Madureira, while not illustrating, is a very fine writer. The cast are recognizably themselves, but in the decades since issue nine, he's found space to balance his bombastic beasts with some welcome humanity.
And the bombast? The bombast is a lot of fun—Garrison and Monika's battle with the monstrous, bloodthirsty Martial Paladins uses the goons' unique abilities damn well.
Granted, this is very much a book for folks who already love Battle Chasers, and it's not a massive issue, but story wise, issue #10 is very much a right into the deep end hope you can swim reintroduction. Folks interested in checking out Battle Chasers would be better served by the anthology collection of the original series or the Nightwar video game.
8.5
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