Who are they? Where are they? What has happened to them? Introducing a new cosmic adventure series – read on to find out more about Psi-Lords #1!
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Renado Guedes
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 19, 2019
Psi-Lords is an all-new ongoing series from Valiant. It’s cosmic adventure at its finest as we meet Tank, Beacon, Artisan, and Hazard, and they start getting to know their powers and abilities.
THE VOICE IN THEIR HEADS
As Psi-Lords #1 opens, we seem to be on some sort of futuristic prison block, and a voice is talking to a few of the prisoners, apparently telepathically, calling them children, but also acknowledging that they may be disoriented. It’s a beginning that really sets things up, especially with a chapter title of “Gods in Cages.” It delivers on this promise, but it also doesn’t give everything away.
We get introduced to the main characters, one per page, but each page is full of information for us. The first man, Tank, is being beaten up by guards. He hears the voice, which names itself “Scion,” and says he’s a soldier and he wants a mission. We also see visual clues which build as we meet each character. A bar code on the arm. A shaved head. The gurneys in their cells.
Beacon is an archivist, and the snapshot we get of her past is quiet and solitary. She’s analytical and meditative. As the voice continues communicating with them, it calls them “gods.” What I like is their skepticism, and that is in full force in Artisan. He was some sort of scientist or engineer, someone really good with his hands. While Scion talks of helping him break out, he’s already figured out the electronic lock on his cell. He is, perhaps, a bit arrogant. In stark contrast to them all is Hazard, a young woman who already hears voices in her head, whose memories involve blood, and whose thoughts are somewhat paranoid.
As they escape their cells, meet up, and have to deal with guards, they start to discover their powers. Scion encourages them, saying they have the power to do whatever they want. Each of them, seemingly instinctively, gravitates toward their own particular powerset. Fighting guards gives them few problems, and as they leave the cellblock, we start to see how strange this place is. They find Scion in fairly short order, in a blood-spattered space where Hazard remembers being operated on. Scion barely has time to tell them that they need to find the holding place of the Psi-Lords before he gets gunned down. While Hazard loses herself in fighting the guards, Beacon figures out a very clever way to get some information. Even as they figure out a little more about the past, they learn that the guards Hazard killed are not human, and that they aren’t in Kansas anymore.
TOUCHES OF THE ALIEN AND TOUCHES OF REALISM
The art of Psi-Lords #1 is top-notch. As we become immersed in this world, we are surround by things that are futuristic, unusual, and alien-appearing. The cells they are in have strangely textured walls. Shapes of things are organic and not rectangular. The backgrounds appear highly detailed, but distinctly foreign. It is all part of a whole that blends with the action of the story. I like that we start out in a small, confined area and gradually work wider afield. We start absorbing this place as the characters do, so we feel like we are going along on their journey with them. And the details – read this book first for the dialogue and action, but then go back and pay attention to all the small things. So much is placed there for us so we get these cool “Oh, look at that!” moments.
The characters are rendered with a softer line that you sometimes see in comics, and the coloring really emulates painting. The result of this are some panels, most notably of the characters, are almost photo-realistic. Beacon’s facial close up is stunning. Their expressions look that much more natural. But there’s something about that realism that gives the story a new dimension. Even though we know this is sci-fi, and a comic, it feels like it could actually be happening. Couple this with the fact that the characters have human personality quirks and flaws, and it brings them to life.
BOTTOM LINE: A TRULY GRIPPING READ
Psi-Lords #1 is a strong opening issue that brings the team together rapidly and presents us with the first couple challenges they need to deal with. The art is absolutely breathtaking. While the characters are flawed enough that I’m not sure I particularly like any of them at this point, I can sympathize with them enough to be interested in their plight. It sure looks like this could be an exciting sci-fi adventure.
Psi-Lords #1 is a strong opening issue that brings the team together rapidly and presents us with the first couple challenges they need to deal with.