Waking up with no memory of who they are, where they are, or what they are, four humans are thrust into a world of aliens, conflict and secrets. Whom can they trust when they are not sure they can trust themselves? PSI-LORDS #1 is out from Valiant Entertainment on June 19th, 2019, and we are bringing you an advance review!
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Renato Guedes
Cover: Rod Reis
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: June 19, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in PSI-LORDS: The original team knowns as PSI-LORDS first appeared in issue #21 of Rai and the Future Force. Conceived as an evolution of the H.A.R.D. Corps program, they eventually where given their own title which ran ten issues from 1994 to 1995. The original timeline showed the Psi-Lords, who would later be called Stargazers, return to Earth after the Malev War with their stories taking place in the 41st century timeline. Now the title has been resurrected by the new Valiant Entertainment, but how much of the original idea remains?
A PRISON IN SPACE IS STILL A PRISON
Our story begins in a setting which is a merger of a high-tech and low-tech style. In a cell labeled Tank, a man is being beaten by his captors and there is nothing that can be done to save him. Bald and bleeding, the man clad in the green jumpsuit is defiant. But as the beating ends, he hears a voice telling him that he knows what they are going through, and he wants to help them but they have to survive. In another cell, this one labeled Beacon, a woman mediates on her situation. The voice speaks to her as well, asking her the last things she remembers. There is a gap, and she is told they have confined her not because of anything she has done, but because who she is, a god. In a cell labeled Artisan, the voice continues. He offers to help this man escape his cell, but the offer is declined. You see, he remembers that he was a scientist, a creator, and he already has the escape situation well in hand. The last cell we visit is Hazard, and is inhabited by a bald woman lying on the floor, her thoughts jumbled and scattered. She has disjointed memories of blood, and cannot remember much else. Untrusting of the voice, she also realizes she cannot trust herself. The voice offers a deal, it helps her escape, and she return the favor.
The man now called Artisan is suddenly successful in escaping his cell, only to find himself falling. Panicked, the voice tells him that he can save himself, and with a start, he does. Opening his mind, he sprouts glowing orange wings and proceeds to draw the fire of the guards. The woman known as Beacon uses her powers to electrify the floor and escape her cell. Meanwhile, Artisan has conjured giant shoulder mounted cannons and is taking out his enemies. Tank, realizing that he has power, forms giant green fist with which he shatters his prison, and Hazard materializes red energy claws that tear through her cell and guards with impunity.
Free of their bonds and having defeated their guards, the foursome set out to find the voice in their head, this Scion. Will they be able to free him, and if so, what answers does he hold. Can he be trusted?
THE GREAT ESCAPE WILL HAVE NOTHING ON THIS
Heading up the story department of this Psi-Lord relaunch is the fantastic Fred Van Lente (Ivan, Timewalker, Archer & Armstrong). I’ve read many of Van Lente’s titles in the past, and he always seems to bring an energy to his stories that make you want to know more even when you have no idea what the heck is going on. This is an example of that. By the end of the first issue, you do not know who the characters were before they appeared, what their purpose is, or what direction they will need to go. To rely on what came before in the nineties version of the Psi-Lords would most likely be a mistake in my opinion. VanLente has never been one to just recycle the past for a title, always adding his own touches to a story and character to keep his audience guessing. If I were a betting man, I would say that is the case here. Allusions are made to the Stargazers and other elements, but at this stage it would be folly to predict what is to come. He has created a wonderful mystery with these characters. I hope future issues will keep up the energy shown in this first issue.
On the art front, we have Renato Guedes (Shadow Man, X-O Manowar), who is no stranger to the Valiant universe either. He has a style of art that involves painting and provocative panel design and distribution that bring the story to another level. He is consistent in his character looks and has an eye for adding the right elements to make panels have that extra little umph. This gritty style adds to the level of frantic confusion that the story conveys, and does it well.
BOTTOM LINE: INTRIGUING PREMISE
Relaunching any previously used title is always a crapshoot. You have older readers who may have memories of how the stories went originally, and then you have newer readers who may not get any references made to the previous continuity. Here, Fred Van Lente seems to have hit a nice balance of old and new, and looks to leave no reader behind.
PSI-LORDS #1 looks to be set to add another layer to the Valiant Universe. I look forward to that future.
With a publication date of June 19th, you have plenty of time to add this one to your pull list.