Comics are one of the few forms of entertainment that you can take a chance on something without really knowing anything about it. Video games are always highly talked about and even though the experience of playing the game is yours alone to give the final verdict, it’s not quite the same as finding a random comic that is awesome. I came across The Untamed on Panelfly’s digital comic app and couldn’t argue with the price of “Free” attached to it. What I didn’t expect was to become so engaged with this story and to fall in love with its art. The journey home for our main character begins on a boat guided by a familiar face. The two hooded men engage in conversation as they approach the passenger’s destination. The keeper of the boat asks them man how long he was given and we learn that whatever his task, he only has seven days to accomplish it. On land he walks until he reaches a burnt down house in the middle of nowhere. He heads inside and finds a discarded doll that brings tears to his eyes. At nightfall he heads to two graves one marked Jenna and the other Ashani. He uncovers a wrapped sword there and takes it with him to his next destination the town of Oasis.
As he enters the resident’s close up their windows, you see there are only two types of people on the streets after dark in Oasis: stupid people and dangerous people. Our man comes across a gang about to hang a man for reasons unknown. They size up the man with chit-chat as he watches them hang the innocent man. A women runs out of her home to stop them and receives a back hand. She begs for the stranger to stop them, but he just asks where the blacksmith is located. Once at the Blacksmith’s he agrees to fix up the sword for an additional cost due to it being so late in the evening. What the Blacksmith doesn’t bargain for is ending up face to face with a sword and it's owner that should be long gone.
The setting and story are quite the experience. There is a mixture of mythological elements along with J.R.R. Tolkien-esc creatures. Our main character that remains nameless in this issue has a Clint Eastwood “Man Without a Name” feel to him that meshes perfectly with the rest of the world. This is a revenge story in case you missed that and he only has seven days to kill seven souls. There are consequences if he fails, but we haven’t learned about those yet. Revenge stories tend to be very simple, but there are so many cool elements added to this tale that it’s anything but simple. I loved the addition of Elves and just the world in general. It’s hard to explain just how cool the setting is, but it makes it worth reading alone.
The art reminded me of Siegfried which is the highest compliment I can pay it. I’m not sure if it’s digitally colored or all hand painted; whichever it is… it is masterfully executed. The opening pages/panels were so striking that it instantly grabs your attention and sucks you into the world. The stranger’s face is only shown once at the very end of the book, but because of that it becomes a memorable and striking moment. The detail and the coloring are superb and help craft the world giving it a realistic look and feel.
I was so impressed that I instantly downloaded the second issue for this series. I cannot wait until the third issue and will gladly pay the full cost of the book to read it. Finding a book like this is what makes comic books so much fun to read and I hope that everyone will check it out and enjoy it. Even if you have five other comic book apps on your tablet or phone download Panelfly and read this book. It’s well worth it.
Writer: Sebastian A. Jones Artist: Peter Bergting Publisher: Stranger Comics Price: Free digitally or $2.99 in print Website: Strangercomics.com