Monday, June 26, 2023

Comics Review: "BATTLE CHASERS #10" - Return of the Kings


STORY: Joe Madureira
ART: Ludo Lullabi
COLORS: Ludo Lullabi
LETTERS: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Tyler Smith
COVER: Ludo Lullabi
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joe Madureira with Billy Garretsen; J. Scott Campbell with Tanya Lehoux; Humberto Ramos; Chris Bachalo with Jaime Mendoza; Mirka Andolfo; Skottie Young
MISC. ART: Joe Madureira and Aron Lusen; Ludo Lullabi; Joe Madureira with Grace Liu
36pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (June 2023)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Battle Chasers created by Joe Madureira

Battle Chasers, the fantasy comic book series created by artist Joe Madureira, original ran from 1998 to 2001.  Now, the series returns via Image Comics.  The series is currently written by Madureira; drawn and colored by Ludo Lullabi; and lettered by Tyler Smith.

Battle Chasers focuses on Gully, a ten-year-old girl who possesses a pair of magical gauntlets left behind by her father, the great warrior, Aramus, who disappeared.  She is aided in her quest to find her father by three new friends.  They are Garrison, a legendary swordsman who possesses a powerful magical sword; Knolan, a powerful 500-year-old wizard; and his companion, Calibretto, a towering “Wargolem,” who is the last of his kind.  Also aboard is Red Monika, a voluptuous outlaw who is the target of King Vaneer of the Unified Territories.

Battle Chasers #10 opens in Sirene Valley at the home of Garrison.  Red Monika has come seeking shelter because she is a fugitive.  Her pursuers are Maestro and his Master Paladins, but these are not the Paladins of old.  These are criminal and killers with supernatural powers.  Now, only her old friend slash foe slash frienemy, Garrison can save her.  But is even the great warrior enough to face off against impossible powers?

Meanwhile, back in Capital City, specifically in its military prison, Gully confronts Sebastias Nefar, the man who claims to be her father Aramus' son from an earlier relationship.  This only leads to more and uglier confrontations.

THE LOWDOWN:  I have previously written that I was a huge fan of Joe Madureira a.k.a. “Joe Mad” in the 1990s.  I used to call him “the young master” because of his talent and abilities and because his art seemed to explode every few months into something even better and more beautiful.  I even collected multiple pages of Joe Mad's original art.

I was also a huge fan of Battle Chasers, and I never forgot about it even after it disappeared in 2001.  So much time passed that I was not sure if I would bother with the series if and when it returned.  In the end, however, I thought, why not?

I'm glad I did.  Battle Chasers #10 may be the best issue of the series yet.  It is certainly the best written.  This issue is the first time in which the script writing has grappled with the inner workings of the characters, especially Garrison, Monika, and Maestro, and how they act and work.  It's as if Madureira spent some time considering how he should present character motivation in depth in this series.  Knowing at least some of their fears and some of what they want, the actions of the characters seem authentic.  The result is that this issue's Garrison/Red Monika versus Maestro and the Martial Paladins confrontation feels like something genuine instead of seeming like an excuse to draw cool actions scenes.  And speaking of art...

Ludo Lullabi is the perfect artist to follow Joe Madureira's original and masterful run, not because Lullabi mimics Joe's style, which quite a few artists did in the 1990s (and some still do, now).  The reason is that Lullabi is also a good storyteller.  I can feel the tension in two primary conflicts in Battle Chasers #10 – the opening chase and also Gully's “family reunion.”  I do like Lullabi's style, which looks like a mix of anime and the design aesthetic of a few Ralph Bakshi films.

So I'm glad that Battle Chasers is back.  I hope readers of the series' first iteration are happy enough to make it a hit.  Most importantly, I hope new readers discover it.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of artist Joe Madureira and of his former comic book series, Battle Chasers, will want to read the revived Battle Chasers.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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