Book of Death #3

The terrible future chronicled in the Book of the Geomancer continues to reveal itself as an unexpected and untold player…Master Darque…emerges to make his bid for control of the Earth’s newest Geomancer! But does the reappearance of history’s most powerful necromancer mean an apocalyptic future has been avoided…or guaranteed?  

As the heroes of the Valiant Universe fall and nature itself turns on humanity, all that stands between the devastated planet and ultimate evil is the Earth’s undying Fist and Steel himself…Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior!

Robert Venditti
Robert Gill
Doug Braithwaite
Valiant Entertainment

One issue to go in the series and, sad as it sounds, I feel confident in saying I’m done. Not because the series has revealed some sort of shocking twist that annoyed me, or committed some unspeakable act that may invoke some moral outrage. No, I just don’t have much connection to these characters and the reveal of the villain and his plans did nothing for me. For once, an event is boring me.

The roots of this have to be aimed solely at the writing itself. It just isn’t doing enough to suspend my belief that this event matters in the Valiant Universe. One thing I do like about the Valiant world is how each ‘event book’ is written to feel small in scale, whilst having wide reaching consequences.

But in this case, marketing seems to have given people (myself included) expectations that the writing simply cannot match. Certainly, you cannot scare most people into thinking the apocalypse is happening when you having ongoing series (and even tie-in books to the event) set in the future that show humanity and the characters of the book will survive pretty unscathed anyway!

But that writing still hampers things, with Master Darque being a rather bland villain who may as well be twirling a metaphorical moustache whilst he berates children. Even The Eternal Warrior seems a bit flat this issue, his dialogue talking about needing to save the world, but not ever justifying why his drive has led him to turn on even his close friends and teammates.

Those complaints I have don’t extend to the art though, with Robert Gill and Doug Braithwaite surpassing their previous work this issue. Braithwaite’s future scenes, which invoke an appropriate mythological tone, are still the standout, his linework and framing of each panel maximising the effects of his scenes. Meanwhile Robert Gill’s present set work gets a lovely creepy tone as the climax of the issue, The Eternal Warrior facing off against undead horrors to buy time for the villain to be found, is both disgusting and a joy to look at artistically.

A case of promise sometimes outmatching ability, I’ll be reading the concluding issue to see if it is satisfactorily finished. But when an event is undercut by a lack of suspense within it and no build to an exciting apex, I’m not sure if you could call it a successful one.

Book of Death is available from Valiant Entertainment

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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