When you’re being hunted by the king of the zombies, the last thing you need is for one of your companions to suddenly turn on you. Valen the Outcast from BOOM! Studios continues to tell an epic journey set in the world of sword and sorcery that gives readers a little bit of everything.  If everything means a witch dressed in a skin tight costume chasing you through the forest.

Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Colorist: Archie Van Buren
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Valen the Outcast: Finding themselves trapped between two warring lords, Valen and his companions must make it across a very deep gorge if they hope to make their way to Wraithendal. It’s just too bad that Ivo’s secret trap is revealed in the form of a controlled Zjanna.


With the sorceress under the spell of Ivo, this issue becomes a wild chase through the deep dark woods as Valen and Cordovan try to elude the cunning witch. And that chase takes up the bulk of the issue, as things go from bad to worse as the duo discover the woods are infested with Skulk who kill everything and bathe in the blood. Apparently these are foxes that are a lot more voracious than the normal run of the mill fox. It all comes to a head when Valen and Zjanna come to blows, and Valen is able to hold his friend in place while getting her to recite the oath that will break Ivo’s hold over her.

It’s a little anti-climactic, sure, but it is the potential that has the reader on the edge of their seat. If nothing else, the reader walks away with a better appreciation of Zjanna and Cordovan as characters and their abilities than what we were led to believe earlier. And of course the issue ends with another cliff-hanger as the trio reach the city by the sea and immediately land in another life or death situation.

For a fantasy book, I like what Nelson is serving up. It isn’t locked into the restrictions found in other books that have to follow the game world, and it is far enough removed from the really crazy death bonanza found in DC’s title. That being said, if the next issue follows the same pacing, and nothing new or surprising occurs, interest in this book is going to drop real fast.


A zombie, a rogue, and a hottie dressed in leather walk into the woods… Here Scalera gives it his all, as he not only has to draw characters with a lot of detail, he also needs to create a dense, deep forest that can’t scrimp on the details either. Save for the fact that Zjanna’s face is rendered in black shadows throughout the issue I didn’t really have a problem with the art. Appropriate angles were used in each panel to give the issue a lot of energy, and had this been a syndicated television show on The CW, these could serve as the perfect storyboards to bring the tale to life.


Overall, Valen the Outcast continues to be an enjoyable read, though there are more than a few things that indicate this series could fall into a very repetitive story if Nelson isn’t willing to mix things up and give us something we have never seen before. The art by Scalera continues to shine, and if you are into the fantasy genre, this book is a good read. Overall, Valen the Outcast #3 earns 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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