This is the first installment of a new series brought to you by the fine folks at Top Cow. In the introductory issue we are introduced to Ashlar. She is a young woman who has been raised by a power-hungry cult that serves the true God. Romulus. Born into the art of war Ashlar learns the secrets of combat and assassination from her mother. The two women are devoted to the cause of this secret organization. That is until an order to kill a young boy comes down from the top and the two killers reject their orders. Now on the run from their former handlers and bosses not everyone makes it out alive.
There is something about a secret order in comics that just rubs me the wrong way. If we are talking about an all-powerful shadow group then why is it so easy to take them down? Why do they lose control of their super soldiers so easily? Why is it that “they” (whoever they turns out to be in comic stories) can hire tons of henchmen and goons to do their bidding, change world government, affect the lives of millions, yet one lone character is enough to topple any regime in fiction. I guess what I’m saying is that the core concept of the book is a little tired.
The shadowy government group aside, this is a tale about revenge. While this is a tale as old as time, this particular yarn lacks the ability to make me care about the loss that the main character is suffering from. I watched her slaughter an entire room of bad guys, she been shown murdering people for pages, and yet I’m supposed to feel something for this cold-blooded killer when she suffers a personal loss? Nope. No thanks. By the time we hit the revenge segment of the book I’ve lost all connection with the lead character. She deserves to suffer; she’s caused nothing but pain and chaos the entire book.
I will say that this title looks sharp. That’s a common trait among Top Cow releases. They know how to make a comic book look good. The artist, Nelson Blake II, doesn’t disappoint. I imagine we will be seeing a lot more from him in the future. If Image doesn’t keep him locked in their stable of talented artists you better believe that one of the BIG TWO will come calling sooner or later.
Final Thoughts: Unlikable lead heroine, stale plot, and no heart take all the wind out of the sails of this new series before it has even had a chance to launch. On the bright side, at least what is there is pretty to look at, but that’s not enough to give this one a passing grade.
Final Grade: 2 ½ stars
Story: Bryan Hill
Art: Nelson Blake II
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Image Comics