11.12.2009

Jason Is Conflicted About Eternal Conflicts

Review by Jason Crowe
Contributing Writer


Eternal Conflicts of the Comic Warrior #1 (Image): Paul Grist introduces readers to the Cosmic Warrior using a long, flowing chain of narration. The stacks of text boxes line the inky black pages, telling the story of a timeless struggle of hope versus despair. The Cosmic Warrior seeks the Hand of Leonard, a mystic relic from the beginning of time. He is challenged by Bernadette, who is apparently not able to directly harm him. Even with that limitation, she claims to have defeated three previous incarnations of the Warrior.

The narration changes tone several times, describing the history of the conflict, describing the characters and setting the mood. The structure of the narrative is unusual and reminded me of Dave Gibbons’ captions in the Kamandi serial in Wednesday Comics (which were influenced by Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant comic strips). The story really feels like an introduction to a novel with very slight plot movement and detailed introductions. I felt that the story needed to focus more on the Warrior, who does not speak in the few pages of his appearance.

The art in this space fantasy comic has the hallmarks of Paul Grist’s earlier work; large figures in solid color backgrounds. I found that the solid black backgrounds served to show the characters as a physical part of the cosmos they live in, especially when the Cosmic Warrior fades away into a starfield at the end of the issue. The page compositions are strong, using the edges of tables, mountains and stone floors to slash through the blackness and divide the images.

Bernadette says, “I really don’t know where the Cosmic gets these guys from.” I don’t know either, but I would like to find out in future issues. I hope that Grist gets a chance to complete and publish his proposed five-part story arc next year. Grade B-.

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