‘Battlecats #1:’ Comic Book Review

Battlecats is a new digital comic book series from Mark London and Carl Bevan, founders of Mad Cave Studios. This series follows the tale of a squad of warrior cats whose king requests they find and bring back the head of the kingdom's archenemy. London wrote the script with Bevan heading up creative direction. From their studio, Andy King completed illustrations/pencils and Michael Camelo completed colors/lettering. Colorist Alejandro Giraldo and graphic/cover designer Miguel Angel Zapata rounded out the creative team.

There are a number of points to recommend this series to readers who enjoy fantasy-driven adventure stories of epic proportions. To start, this is a beautiful-looking book. It has rich, deep colors with clean lines and shading, and the torn edging appearance of each frame conveys a sense of age to the story being told. Format variety from one page to the next keeps each page fresh, and King is mindful of how the eye will travel across the page. The fighting sequence is effective in the digital format. The blurring technique employed visually renders well the sense of chaotic motion the characters are experiencing.

The placement of the speech bubbles leaves ample room for the characters to live and breathe on the page; action is unobstructed. Camelo's choice of lettering and the parchment emulating speech bubbles complement the tale. In particular, the narration bubbles shaped like open books along with white highlights is a nice touch of detail.

On the flip side, there were a couple of story shortfalls in the first issue of Battlecats. Almost half of the issue is devoted to a battle sequence, creating an imbalance between action and character development. I would have preferred another two to four pages of story development, because this would have allowed London more time to introduce the warriors and the kingdom they inhabit. It also would have heightened the sense of danger faced by the protagonists. In tandem, there was a disconnect between time and location. For example, one of the warriors mention that “by mid fedd we should reach La Marque” did not tell me if this was a few Earth days or several months. Nor was there any way to figure it out, because distance between one point to another was unknown. I think a map of the world might have helped.

There were also a couple of minor visual issues. While the torn edging of the frames looked great early on, they were disruptive on the pages of the ambush and ensuing battle sequence. Perhaps instead of a white background, a deep color would have been more pleasing to the eyes and less jarring. Also, as the ambush is commencing, the sound effect texts are lost amongst the action unfolding on the page. A few less sound effects and re-positioning and re-coloring the remaining texts with one color each would have allowed them to pop off the page and add the dramatic oomph that was needed.

Although the first issue has a couple of minor problems, overall, Battlecats is a strong start for Mad Cave Studios' comics division. It has a polished, professional look and since it is offered digitally, the cost is kept at a very reasonable $2.99. The medium lets the creative team showcase their talent and dedication to telling an interesting story. And, it is definitely worth sticking around and reading the second issue to see what happens next.

Last modified on Sunday, 11 March 2018 01:58

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