Review: Reyn #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kel Symons
Art: Nate Stockman
Image has released Reyn, the first in a new fantasy title written by The Mercenary Sea author Kel Symons and illustrated by I Love Trouble artist Nate Stockman. The main character, unsurprisingly, is Reyn, sword-handler and monster-fighter extraordinaire. He is a descendant of the legendary Wardens of the land of Fate. Their status and ranks became redundant following the Great Cataclysm, which “caused upheaval,” resulting in their lives becoming myth. He assists a farming family in dealing with a colossal monster- demonstrating some reluctant heroism and swordsmanship- and declines their invitation to stay. While he continues his journey, the narrator shifts to Seph, a sorceress and “heretic” belonging to a coven called the Followers of Tek. Reyn’s presence and Seph’s spectacular battle scene provokes interest in Braon Allwyn, a gross lizard-man who wouldn’t look out of place in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The first issue of Reyn is an introduction to what seems to be a fairly standard fantasy outing. The story arc seems interesting enough, just maybe not something that makes the title stand out from other fantasy comics- provocative, genre-subverting titles like Rat Queens. The dialogue is fairly pedestrian, though it does have funny turns, especially when Reyn speaks. He dips in and out of chivalric hero-speak, breaking into the role of reluctant knight; addressing the spirit that guides him on his quest, he asks “Really, I can’t just stop in for a beer before you haunt me again?” It isn’t the usual chat of the archetypal hero, indicating he has the capacity to defy convention. This is what may make the title a compelling read. Everyone loves a grumpy anti-hero, just look at Wolverine or Daryl Dixon. The dual narration is an interesting and successful feature, giving the reader a fresh perspective on events and preventing the story from becoming one-dimensional. Seph seems like a fun smart-ass, and hopefully the pairing of them will make for great chemistry and character development.
Stockman’s illustration may not be hugely detailed and intricate, but it is certainly grand and effective in setting the tone for the comic and creating Reyn’s universe. He uses classic comic book onomatopoeia- which is somehow refreshing, given some creators’ reluctance to include such a trope- and creates visually interesting monsters. Reyn relies on very visual story-telling, with the first few pages containing little dialogue, which keeps the pace going, and the action scenes are great. Seph’s sorcery battle in particular is bold and dynamic. Hopefully the story will continue to facilitate these epic battle scenes.
Reyn does not necessarily offer the reader anything different from other fantasy titles- the plot is interesting but not extraordinary, the art work pretty epic but not super detailed- but the two protagonists have the potential to become compelling and entertaining characters. Separating Reyn from the typical fantasy hero archetype is what will make the book stand out from a very large crowd of similar titles. An introduction to a title that hopefully won’t suffer the pitfalls of typical fantasy comics.