By Dustin Cabeal
I don’t know anything about Kull. It’s a name that seems familiar, but other than that; I have no idea. That doesn’t matter though because this is the first issue. I’m pointing this all out early because often when a property is rebooted old fans like to make excuses saying that new readers “didn’t get it” and so on. Simply put a first issues job is to make sure everyone gets it, so let’s see how Kull Eternal stacks up?
The story is straightforward and easy to follow. Kull and a group of modern soldiers are fighting in Antarctica against some reptilian people that can take on the form of humans. They fight, every lizard person gets their head cut off and then some dialogue alludes that this is the end of the story rather than the start.
Cue the flashback as we find Kull again, this time a King of Valusia. A woman in red has been summoned to trap so that a Baron can take his place as king. It’s through her strangely specific narration that we learn about Kull’s past. There is quite the buildup before the woman offers Kull a quest of sorts which he quickly accepts and rides off alone to meet a wizard, who she reveals in her strangely specific narration, to be her father. Normally I don’t spoil last pages, but the last page for Kull Eternal was just the wizard saying, “Whazza up, we been waiting for you and shit.” As far as cliffhangers go, this one helped release my fingers like a cartoon.
The story is average at best. The beginning had interesting aspects, but it spent a lot of time cutting heads off of lizard people and letting one guy bleed a lot. The journey into the past was typical fantasy stuff. It was no different than King Conan or that book that Titan Comics is republishing currently about a ruler, that was a slave/gladiator, turned king. There’s obviously going to be some time jumping, but perhaps it would have been better to tease those different timelines as we journey back to the start of the story? It's just that neither part of the story is interesting enough to make you want to follow it more. Instead, you might be inclined to see if there’s a better timeline to like and follow. While the dialogue was fine for the most part, the narration was overbearing and to well informed. Why anyone would be thinking all of this to themselves is beyond me, but that’s exactly what the woman in red is doing. Forgive me for not remembering her name; I couldn’t find it, I don’t think anyone used it as she was only called “Woman.” I’m sure in the future timeline she has a name, but they did little connect those dots.
The art is strong, but in the second part of the comic, it has these weird Sin City moments in which the character is shadowed completely except for the eyes and a smile. They’re not bad to look at, but they look inconsistent with the rest of the artwork. The action was okay, but seriously every lizard man was beheaded, and so it looked like the same thing over and over. The one-off panels showing Kull’s past did a fine job of showing the emotion of the character at that moment and visually conveying what the narration wasn’t saying, which wasn’t much.
The coloring for the book is a bit flat and dull. There’s no vibrancy to the colors, especially when a beautiful woman in red shows up and doesn’t manage to stand out in the crowd when she pops her cloak off. What was particularly frustrating about the was the wine. The narration says “Blood-red wine,” but it’s more magenta than anything. There’s plenty of blood in the book, so it’s just a weird misstep. Granted, wine is blood-red, but if the narration says it is, then it’s better to match what’s on the page than to instill realism in a fantasy story.
I will likely try out the next issue of Kull Eternal. It’s not a bad first issue, but it’s by no means great. It’s average, and sometimes that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it for yourself and since it hits so perfectly in the middle of the scale, some readers are bound to enjoy it more than others. That’s why comics are fun, but from what I read and say and digested, it’s just okay. We’ll see what the second issue has to offer.
Kull Eternal #1
Writer: Tom Waltz
Artist: Luca Pizzari
Colorist: Triona Tree Farrell
Letterer: Christa Miesner
Publisher: IDW Publishing