Bethany, the necromancer, has a map that could lead her to a safe place to come to terms with her magic. The problem – no one can read it. Will she have any luck with the mages of The Foggard? Find out in The Necromancer’s Map #1!
Writer: Andrea Fort and Michael Christopher Heron
Artist: Sam Beck
Colorist: Ellie Wright
Letterer: Andworld Design
Editor: Adrian F. Wassel
Publisher: Vault Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 28, 2019
Previously in The Necromancer’s Map: Bethany is a bard and necromancer travelling with her companion Elissar. Bethany is uneasy with her magic and has found a map that could lead her to a place where she could find sanctuary. But reading the map is no simple task, and they have found their way to The Foggard, a society of mages, to ask for help.
AN INTERESTING TAKE ON MAGES
We meet Bethany at the start of The Necromancer’s Map #1 as she meets with the mages of The Foggard. It’s an interesting take on mages, as they look on magic as a tool for making life more pleasant. Coupled with impeccable etiquette, they often find work in the houses of the very wealthy. Learned as they are, they cannot translate the map. They doubt they have any useful references, and that area of the temple is restricted to outsiders.
Is it really that difficult? Or are they wary of her and her magic? Or is it the presence of her friend Elissar, who is now undead. Elissar died not all that long ago, and Bethany is the one who brought her back, and this appears to be a bone of contention. I’m intrigued.
One of The Foggard catches up with Bethany to take her to Jonas, someone who might be able to help her – if he feels well enough. He is dying of a disease called the Void Sickness and unfortunately, he’s unconscious. While Ellisar rides off on her own, Bethany prowls the basement in search of the library. Instead she finds a crypt and as she explores it, Jonas meets her and asks to see her map. He still cannot help, and the best ideas for where to find someone who might involve several days of travel.
They have a long conversation about Bethany’s necromancy. Being a necromancer is still not looked on with any favor, and even though she’s been trying to use her powers for good. She confesses that she was tempted, in the crypt, to raise an Elder to talk to him. In the conversation, it comes out that there is a history of students dying of Void Sickness at the temple. The current Elders, however, don’t know anything of this and just consider it a rare disease. I like the contrast between people who are willing to do research and try to build on previous knowledge and people not only live in the present, but who don’t see the point of studying the past. But what if Bethany were to raise an Elder to ask, not about her map, but about Jonas’ illness?
CLEAN AND CRISP
The art in The Necromancer’s Map #1 is nice and crisp. Plainly this is a fantasy tale, but the glimpses we see of this world are tantalizingly distinctive. The Foggard look like people who have studied etiquette all their lives. Their posture is perfect. Their outfits are tidy. Their faces carefully mask their expressions. This sets off the contrast with Bethany, who clearly feels out of place, who is clearly an adventurer, and who is young enough to care about what others think of her. We gradually key into Ellisar who takes it one level further, undead, but smoldering, wound up tightly and ready to spring.
The backgrounds are spare, but the interior shots include some really nice detail to round them out. The scale inside The Foggard’s keep is larger than life, but the balance is good. We see the vaulting of the ceiling, narrow windows angled like arrow slots, and some pretty and decorative details. The crypt is barrel vaulted and lit by candles, but not stereotypically draped with spiderwebs; rather, it looks a crypt that is used and is kept tidy. Why not, if you can do all that by magic?
BOTTOM LINE: OFF TO A SOLID START
Even the title, The Necromancer’s Map #1, is evocative, and the story goes a good way to keeping up with that. Bethany is likeable if troubled; Ellisar is struggling to cope with her own death. The world feels lived in and as though it has history. There’s a bit of information dump and only a modest amount of action, but I think it’s promising.
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The Necromancer's Map #1
The world feels lived in and as though it has history. There’s a bit of information dump and only a modest amount of action, but I think it’s promising.