Four Books, One Allegiance

Four Books, One Allegiance

Review by: Rob Wrecks

So roughly three weeks ago during another lovely occasion where I was dealing with a toothache/infection, I was browsing about in my area’s local Wal-Mart (and my source of employment) while waiting for some meds to be filled for said issue of mine. My browsing led me to the recently revamped books section where I came across four Indie comics from a new Publisher I hadn’t ever heard of before until then. Which, hey, all part of the deal here at IndieComiX! Now you’re thinking ‘Comics!? At a Wal-Mart!?’ And yes, that’s right. Sure this isn’t exactly new given the fact you can find a limited selection of Marvel/DC books for sale at Wal-Mart. Unless its just where I am but I doubt that’s the case. But straight up Indie titles at a Wal-Mart!? Its virtually unheard of but very, very welcome. Makes me have hope we’ll see comics more frequently again on Magazine stands in various types of stores like the good old days.

Now it took me a few weeks to get around to reading the four offerings currently out from our newcomer known as Allegiance Arts for one reason or another. And its quite an interesting mix of titles, with three of them set in time periods from the 1800s to the 1930s such as Red Rooster, Bass Reeves, and The Futurists. Norah’s Saga is the only title of the 4 that is (as far as I can tell) set in current day times. Well, at least at the beginning anyway but we’ll get back to that in a bit.

Red Rooster #1
Writer, Creator, Cover Art, and Artist: Mitch Breitweiser
Co-Writer: Mark Pellegrini
Letterer: Eric Weathers
Color Platter: Hernan Octavio
Colorlist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Editor: Patrick Stiles
Design and Layout: Chris Kindrick

Summary: Light Braves the Darkness; Darkness Fears the Dawn.

For centuries, the venerable mantle of The Red Rooster has passed from generation-to-generation in order to battle man’s most ancient and pernicious evils. Now, it’s disgraced icon Frank Cooper’s turn to don the cape and cowl in this Dust Bowl-era tale of mystery and redemption against all odds.

Mitch Breitweiser’s Red Rooster #1, a book set in the 1930s and is effectively a Super Heroics title. Red Rooster also kind of has this feel of being a Public Domain Character and that’s probably the vibe Mitch was going for. Though for all I know I could be wrong on that bit of thinking. Now at the beginning we get our main man in the present where he’s in a fairly unhappy place and given a little of the circumstances we see in the first pages of the present time, its understandable. After this, the rest of the book is set in the past, primarily the lead up to the events that eventually lead us readers to the brief time of the Rooster’s present day happenings. So essentially, an origin story and all four books essentially have that to one extent or another. We get to see Red Rooster and his crew and how the public views them in one way or another thanks to the burgeoning dawn of Mass Media and those looking to make a little bit of money off of them.

Mitch also gives us a look at a few of the villains in this universe of his and the beginnings of a plot against our heroic Rooster. One I’m curious to see in action given it appears to have worked judging by the state of things we first see in the opening pages of Red Rooster. Though, granted, there could have been other factors involved as well but I’m very much looking forward to seeing it all play out as time goes on! And given the implications of there having been previous individuals to have donned the mantle of Red Rooster, I’m curious if Mitch intends to explore those previous Red Roosters. Along with the Order of the Dawn organization they all belong too.

Bass Reeves #1
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Letterer: Eric Weathers
Artist: David Williams
Color Flatter: Hernan Octavio
Colorist: Kelsey Shannon
Editor: Patrick Stiles
Cover: David Williams and Kelsey Shannon
Design and Layout: Chris Kindrick

Summary: Slave. Lawman. Legend.

In a life torn between family and duty, the story of Bass Reeves shines a bright light on one of the most legendary lawmen of the American west. Reeves escaped slavery, became a feared tracker and bounty man, then accepted a commission as the first black man west of the Mississippi to wear the silver star of the US Marshals service. Bass always got his man, arresting over 3,000 outlaws – a record that stands till this day.

I have to admit, until tonight, I hadn’t a clue (as far as I can remember) that Bass Reeves was a real live individual (or that he even existed for that matter) until I read this title’s take on the man courtesy of Kevin Grevioux’s writing. Leading to me doing a bit of reading on Marshal Reeves courtesy of Wikipedia. Who says you can’t learn anything from comics!? For those who may not know, Bass is the first black US Deputy Marshal West of the Mississippi River and was recruited in 1875 by James F. Fagan. Now I’m going to assume that Kevin took some creative liberties here in the events that leads up to Bass being recruited and of course, that’s perfectly fine. Its great to see takes on historical figures, especially ones you’ve only recently learned about. Reeves’ staunch beliefs where the Law, Responsibility, especially where Guns are concerned, is done brilliantly here. Especially with how David Williams captures his look as the man stresses the importance of those things to his son after a shoot out happens.

I’m loving how Bass is seen like a boogie man in the eyes of the unlawful through out the pages of this first issue. The fact he kind of helps that along with his appearances and some singing only helps with that. Of the 4 books currently out from Allegiance, Bass Reeves #1 is perhaps the one I’ve enjoyed the most and consider a favorite that I’d happily suggest right off the bat if asked about recommendations and am more eager to read of than the others. I’ve got no idea how long of a series this is going to be, but I’m looking forward to finding out as time goes on.

The Futurists #1
Creators: Mitch Breitweiser and Patrick Stiles
Writer: Patrick Stiles
Artist: Butch Guice
Letterer: Eric Weathers
Inker: Rick Magyar
Color Flatter: Hernan Octavio
Colorists: Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser with Alex Guimaraes
Editor: Patrick Stiles
Design and Layout: Chris Kindrick
Cover: Butch Guich with Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser

Summary: Separated by War. United by a Curse.

India, 1866. Stricken by an insidious curse, three desperate and dangerous foes race to unearth the secrets of the lost land of Shambhala. In their way is Teddy Gunn, a treasure-hunting rogue with a dark secret who must save the family he left behind. To rescue his daughter from a dark magic, Teddy must forge an unlikely alliance with Harij, a beguiling young shaman who is much more than he seems. Together, they will navigate a war-torn landscape and face terrifying monsters, murderous cults, macabre plots, and the exotic mysteries of an ancient land.

The first issue of The Futurists is the third book set in a particular time period, namely the late 1860s in India. Futurists leans on the Supernatural such as mysticism and Demons mixed in with a (maybe) slight case of Sci-Fi in the form of Time Travel (or close to it) and as well as searching for the mythical Shambhala. Though that last part is only mentioned in the summary for this book and isn’t really focused on at all in this first issue as far as I can tell. Which… Is a little weird and makes me wonder why it wasn’t touched on. Unless the rambling done during a Spirit’s Recall is something related to that and I just didn’t realize that until I began to write this. And while I’m curious about another Mystic’s (known as Harij) apparent de-aged state, I’m more curious as to why there’s some animosity between him and the old Mystic the soldiers and their lady friends visited.

Whether or not that’s something that’ll be touched on remains to be seen as us readers are shown the beginnings of some past events that will link to Harij’s de-aged state.

Norah’s Saga #1
Creator and Editor: Patrick Stiles
Writer: Blake Northcott
Artist: Kelsey Shannon
Letterer: Eric Weathers
Cover: Kelsey Shannon
Color Platter: Hernan Octavio
Design and Layout: Chris Kindrick

Summary: From Gym Class to Warrior Class.

New school–new world, literally. Sassy, book-smart Norah Karlsson’s quest to fit in becomes an epic tale of survival when she crashes through the mists of time and into a realm of ice and Norse legend. The high school’s mean girls had nothing on the god of mischief, and at least they never tied her to a stake. Bullies? Try trolls, and not the Internet variety. Forget sharing a table with the cool kids in the cafeteria; Norah would be just as happy if she didn’t have to slay her lunch.

Ahh… The first issue of Norah’s Saga, the final of the 4 books in the first wave release from Allegiance Art. The one set (at least for the most part) in modern times and nicely enough, has Nordic themes. Our lead character is young Norah. She’s got a great relationship with her parents, especially with her dad and her mom’s the awesome gal who spent a good while putting together a section of the Museum she’s employed with filled with Vikings and Norse Gods. I’d say that’s time well spent in my view. Unfortunately, the good times aren’t meant to last long due to some tragedy that occurs on the family’s way home. Leaving young Norah without one parent and later on, having to deal with new kids when she and the remaining parent have to move. And when you have an emotional loss like a parent’s on your plate, even after some time, dealing with new kids and the like can definitely be stressful.

Especially if the new kids are a bunch of jackasses for that matter. Something that unfortunately in its own way, leads to a bit of peer pressure where fitting in is concerned for Norah. Through it all is very clearly a mystery or two as questions gather up as the story goes on. Was it an actual person who caused the wreck or was it an animal? Which… Interestingly enough, can apply in both wreck situations if you want to go there. Is Norah’s arrival in another time and place merely a dream of some kind? Or is it actually real? And if so, how much trouble is she in for considering the two people she meets in this other time period are suspicious and accusatory towards her as they (mostly the woman known as Astrid) think her to be a witch. I know I’m definitely looking forward to finding out the answers to these questions and what is in store for Norah and what two black suited men are looking into where her situation is concerned.

And while Patrick Stiles didn’t write this but created it while leaving the writing to Blake Northcott, I think I have to say I definitely prefer Norah’s Saga to Patrick’s The Futurists as it pulls me in more than what that book did. Though for all I know, that’s Patrick’s first writing gig and he just needs to stretch his legs a bit so to speak. But feel free to correct me on that line of thought. Its great to see some non Big Two books at a place like Wal-Mart and I am hopeful we’ll see more of this to come. As it’ll allow for those in the Indies to get some more recognition on the works they are doing. Especially with the second issues for each of the 4 books that will be out in July.

Now, one complaint I have about these books is the fact that unless you’re paying attention and or re-reading to better understand each book, is the fact that aside from The Futurists, they tend to leave out time period dates when time period shifts happen in the pages. Which for me can be a little off putting if I’m not paying enough attention. Though maybe considering Norah’s dream in the beginning of Norah’s Saga, it might be why they didn’t make a mention of the later time period. Perhaps this will be something that’ll be worked on future releases or perhaps not. Now if you haven’t read these yet because this is your first time hearing about the books, or because your local Wal-Mart is out, you can head to the Wal-Mart website to grab your copies or head over to the Allegiance Arts website to get them there.

Happy buying and reading!