REVIEW: The Covenant #1

Writer: ROB LIEFELD
Art: MATT HORAK
Publisher: Image comics
Release Date: 06/03/215

I should thank Rob Liefeld. Back in the day, I picked up 10 comics, costing a total of £1.70 from a second hand bookshop. Amongst the Justice League Europe books, I had a copy of New Mutants #87. I took the book to a local comic shop and exchanged it for £50 worth of Star Wars Marvel comics, which meant I practically managed to get whole set.

So fast forward more years than I will state here, Liefeld’s popularity has grown and waned and he has been a somewhat polarizing personality. After a brief sojourn at DC, he is back at Image, writing, at its simplest, a sword and sorcery twist on certain biblical characters, events and artefacts.

The Covenant follows a young priest called Samuel who leads a team to rescue the Ark of the Covenant from the hands of Lord Dagon, who seeks to control the power of the Ark for his own needs.  Issue one is here to set the table, maybe show you a menu and offer some nibbles to entice your taste buds.

Unfortunately, the aims fail to hit their target. Liefeld’s writing style is similar to his art. It is over the top with no feel for the finer points. The characters come across as wooden with little life imbued within. Sure I have been reading comics for years and yes there is not that much in the way of originality at the moment, but that is why the industry needs strong writers who can work within the confines of such stagnation.  Or strong writers who can come up with original ideas, working with the stereotypical characters. This book serves neither.  I have read Liefeld’s previous written work and each time have come away with the feeling less than fulfilled.

Art is by Matt Horak who seems to be going for the epic feel of biblical movies such as Ben Hur and the Ten Commandments. At some points he hits the mark, but for the most part, comes across as very bland. The lack of perspective doesn’t help, with heads seemingly to big for bodies. Looking at the cover and some of the panels inside, there is a definite Liefeld influence, especially around some of the facial expressions. I would’ve preferred to have seen less of the influence and more of Horak’s own style.

Overall I am not fussed by this book.  The various elements combine to create something that I am not entirely sure I am comfortable with. The tensions of the real world and with the role that religions play in such conflict, I am not sure that a book depicting a fictionalized version of biblical characters serves to soothe these but rather exploit people’s views. I may by looking into the impact of the book too much, but either way, the book fails to grab my interest and as for Ark stories, I think I will stick to Raiders.

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