Review: The First World – The Gathering of Five & The War of Souls

The First World is a series of books created by Chris Campana which at its very core is a Dungeons & Dragons book from an admitted fan of Frazetta, Masters of the Universe and Conan.  I am sure that in today’s HBO driven world, comparisons to Games of Throne will undoubtedly follow.

Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the Conan books in my youth and gave He-Man his due, I have never been an out-and-out fan of the genre.  Still that doesn’t detract from the quality of the books that Campana has but together, through Kickstarter.

The Gathering of Five is an art book, from cover to cover.  the work inside is simply breath-taking.  There are not many artist out there who seem comfortable drawing dragons, humans and other fantasy type standards.  To me, looking at the pencils, I do not understand how Campana isn’t on a book, signed to a comic book company.  I can think of any number of books from across the aisles that would benefit from Campana’s work.  The story itself is more complex than I thought at first glance, which would be a concern for some.  Yet Campana handles the dearth and sheer volume of words well, never detract from the action and the strong storytelling.

It is then a shame that thing suffer slightly with the addition of colors in The War of Souls.  Digital colors are a hard thing to master, when there is just one colourist; here there are three with Ron Wybraniec, Beeezzz Studios and Bryan Magnaye all contribute to cloud the picture somewhat.  Also on hand is inker Scott Shriver.  Now I am sure that all involved tried their best, but comparing the two books, the pencils only wins out every time.

Overall, for fans of this genre this is a must read series.  If, like me you can take of leave fantasy, books, just sit back and enjoy some of the best art that you may well see in a genre that has been dominated by most things Hyborian.

Creator / Writer / Artist – Chris Campana
Inks – Scott Shriver
Colors – Ron Wybraniec / Beeezzz Studios / Bryan Magnaye

Take a look at Chris’s amazing work on his Facebook Page HERE and his instagram HERE


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