An enchantress needs to save the souls of her two murdered children. So she recruits a mercenary to help her make the dangerous journey for justice. It’s a grueling trek far beyond anything she could have ever imagined. It’s enchantress accompanied by a trained killer to pick a fight with “God.” Forgotten Blade is a tale based on one of the oldest and most memorable archetypes: the journey/quest; the epic adventure where a person or group of people band together and set out along the unknown road, hoping for survival and success.
Writer Tze Chun, the co-founder of TKO Studios, is also a writer and producer of Fox’s Gotham and various other TV shows and motion pictures. He folds together the many classic traits and tropes of The Journey here but mixes it with the dew of continual twists and turns. The result is a well-seasoned world-build that reminds us sometimes of Jack ‘King’ Kirby: the massive machines, the BIG concepts, the flawed Gods and DemiGods, the surprises, the unceasing fountain of free association.
But where Kirby sometimes hit the wall at the far end of the universe, in the sense that he had more concepts in play than a single linear story could encapsulate, Chun mixes and modifies plot, characters, and settings with aplomb. His slapshots at the organized Church Citadel and all its little tyrants, their continual lies, manipulation and scheming, the tipping of the caboose that threatens to derail all the similes and metaphors throughout; all of this is done magically, methodically.
Artist Toni Fejzula, from Barcelona, Spain, is a frequent collaborator with Greg Rucka, John Arcudi, and Mike Mignola. He has a background in drawing backgrounds for Spanish animated series and films, plus plenty of printed pieces such as the 300-page graphic novel adaptation of Fernando Aramburu’s Homeland.
Fejzula’s visual imagination and ability to move our eye around a page is, as I have mentioned, a reminder of the blustery and semi-abstract style of auteur Jack Kirby, but it’s not just that; Fejzula has a gift for shape and pattern. He designs the drawn page, allows us in, beckons us to come along for the dangerous ride, all while informing us… “Look over here,” he seems to say, “but now let’s move along quickly to the next scene, where I would like you to linger a little longer.” It’s in the angles of the bodies, of the futuristic vertical vistas, the world-without-end spires. And ultimately in the inspiring-yet-frightening powers of the AllFather, the creator of the world of the Forgotten Blade.
I highly recommend this book; it has grabbed me for its bravery its willingness to march to the traditional beat of the ‘epic journey’ storyline, but with ingenuity, variety, (piety?) it has excelled. In other words, it’s impressive in scope and breathtaking in how it is executed.