By Avi Weinryb
November 5, 2006 - 02:05
Grafenveer #2 (of 4)
Writer: Wayne Sanders
Artist/Cover: Christian N. St. Pierre
Cover art by Christian N. St. Pierre
King Grafenveer’s kingdom is an otherworldly place in which good men and women defend themselves against great evil. Ra, a former slave boy, was essentially adopted by the benevolent king, and crafted into a skilled warrior. The kingdom is soon exposed to the threat of ‘the Dragons’, forcing Ra and his men to do everything within their power to turn the tide of battle. But even as they lay siege to these outside forces, an evil within the Grafenveer empire threatens to undermine the royal house itself. Ra must face great dangers, hard-hitting enemies, and mystical beasts.
Just like the previously reviewed Children of the Grave, Grafenveer is written by a former member of the American Military. Although modern warfare does not compare to the fantastic combat of Grafenveer, Sanders demonstrates a clear understanding of how to write an action scene. The frenetic chaos of war is on full display; Swords slash and bodies fall. The disbelief a soldier demonstrates when a sky full of winged demons appear (“This can’t be happening!”) is an honest reaction to this foreboding spectacle of impending doom. The pacing is measured and assured. Sanders clearly knows how to write an action comic.
With the addition of a strong female character, the book adds some diversity to the predominantly male cast of characters. It also doesn’t hurt that she is a lovely and mysterious spider woman that can control and army of arachnids. When Lady Tarantula, the spider queen, introduces Ra to her web spinning buddies, a rare burst of humour appears when an endearing little spider takes a liking to our hero.
The art of St. Pierre fits the fantasy genre perfectly! Emerging from the field of role playing games, the artist has a developed style of illustration that makes demons, swordsmen, and spider queens look fabulous. It is the pulpy style of thick black lines that provides a unique look and feel to the book’s proceedings. Although shading within the art is usually an expected requirement, it likely would not work with St. Pierre’s distinct style, and is therefore left out.
If you are a fantasy fan that craves demon battles and pin-up shots of a certain spider queen, pick this book up. If you harbour an action fetish, you may want this book too. Otherwise, it may not be for you… The term ‘niche market’ comes to mind.
7 out of 10