In Review: Knights Temporal #1

Timelines are crossed to destroy a sorcerer. The reader should buckle in for this adventure!

The covers: There are a big seven covers for this premiere issue and they can be had without leaping through magical doorways. The Regular cover is by interior artist and colorist Fran Galán. A giant light violet crystal is beginning to break into shards. Within the crystal protagonist Auguste de Rivière cam be seen staring at the reader. A solid tease that gives away nothing. The first Variant cover is by Javier Avila and has the hero giving a slight snarl as he wields a massive sword before the reader. His weapon has shattered a crystal and it’s pieces are going into every corner. Cool action image with the violets strong. There’s a Variant cover by Garry Brown and it has Auguset on his knees holding his weapon by the hilt with the blade planted in the snowy ground. Behind him is the silhouette of a forest, colored blood red until it nears the white powder. Moody image that looks foreboding. I like this! The Nat Jones Variant has the reader looking down at Auguste who looks up. He holds his bloody sword to his left while his tattered scarf blows to the right. His face is splattered with crimson, showing that he’s had one hell of fight. The ground behind him is is broken and a slightly darker orange than his armor. Terrific moody piece. This cover was reused and the orange changed to gray for the second print cover of this book. There’s also a Jimmy Mulligan Variant cover, but sadly I couldn’t find a version of this online. Next up is the Variant by Mike Rooth and Larry Watts and there’s a lot going on. Popping a wheelie on his motorcycle into a crowd on the street of a city, Auguste holds his sword ready to strike down the covered up character running in the foreground like Darkman. Lots of bystanders people this setting making the hero’s action look intense. Good colors on this, too. The sole Exclusive cover I could find is sold at Sanctuary of Heroes by Larry Watts. Auguste is leaping to the left, his coat splayed out behind him, his sword held over his head, and his leg ready to kick forward. In the foreground is Jane. She’s leaning forward, with her lips pursed as if she’s not liking where they’re going. They’re on a blue background with pieces of crystal shattering into the reader. Very cool. Overall grades: Regular A, Avila Variant B+, Brown Variant A+, Jones Variant A, Jones Second Print A, Rooth Variant B, and Sanctuary of Heroes Exclusive A-

The story: In a dark forest, Gaspard and and men ride like hell into the foliage. He proclaims, “We’ll lose them there! Among the trees! Among the ghosts!” The men and their horses enter. Three men follow. One man stops, telling Auguste that the horses are afraid to enter. “The sorcerer will escape!” he yells. “His followers will escape! If we don’t follow, they’ll slip away! If we let fear turn us –” He stops because one of his companions falls from his mount and coughs up his innards onto the ground. The other man leaps down to tend to his friend who is gone. Dismounting and pulling his sword, Auguste walks into the darkness. His companion yells at his back, “Don’t be fool! You will not redeem your soul in those woods, Auguste! Only hell awaits! If you venture into those woods — you’ll be lost forever!” The setting shifts from the medieval to the present day as Auguste rushes through a crowd in pursuit of a man running from him. He bumps into one man whose eyes go wide. “What the…? It can’t be. It can’t be him.” A smiling woman named Jane appears on a car to point Auguste in the direction of his prey. This issue may seem initially jarring, but writer Cullen Bunn has got the reader going back and forth in time with the protagonist. Those that read this book will see what threat Gaspard poses, who fights for the sorcerer, and the initial meeting with Jane Foole and how she set the hero on this task through time. I like that Auguste is missing some of his memories. All he knows is that Jane is his ally and that Gaspard must be stopped. The man that knows Auguste dangles some truth before the hero, but that information is never completely revealed. There’s much more going on than a chase through time. The only reason this story doesn’t earn a plus with its letter grade is because I’m not getting the whole picture of the tale, but that’s obviously intentional by Bunn. Overall grade: A

The art and the colors: Fran Galán’s art is wonderful. The power of the galloping horses on the first page is excellent and look at the strong coloring he creates to show how light is muted by the villains’ presence. The death on Page 3 is surprising and graphic, but not over the top. I love the swirl of mud in the fourth panel on this same page, becoming a vortex on the ground that teases something epic that’s to appear later. Auguste’s walk into the darkness at the end of the page is the definition of a hero’s walk. Page 4 is a dramatic shift in location not only for the design of the locale and the people present, but the bright colors, with red and orange dominating. Jane’s first appearance has her looking like an imp atop that vehicle. The kick that concludes 5 is great. How the hero’s prey avoids capture on the next page is a surprise and ups the difficultly in capturing this character significantly. Pages 7 – 9 are back in the past and chronologically introduces Jane to Auguste. I like how the colors aren’t so dark as to make the characters disappear in the darkness. I especially like how some of Jane’s dialogue is done in dark violet, giving her a magical tone. The slight colors that appear at the end of 9 are a superb tease of the partial double-paged splash on 10 and 11. The visual on these pages is as pure a cosmic sight as can be realized by an artist. The colors are perfection. Back in the present, the chase is still on, but paused while a character reveals himself to Auguste and Jane. I love the look of this character and how he emotes. The colors of the memory on 14 are thrilling; very different from the tans and sepia tones used most often for flashbacks. The design of the antagonists on 15 are excellent. The anger on the hero’s face is killer! Several time periods appear simultaneously on 17 and 18, showing Auguste to have a moment of clarity. The first panel on 19 is awesome, as someone demonstrates their full strength to the reader. The final page has a character’s exit that’s frightening. I don’t yet know the significance of the final panel, but that’s sure to mean something! Galán is doing outstanding work on this book! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharpe is responsible for dialogue, yells, sounds, sing song dialogue, and the three word tease for next issue. The yells are done in several different fonts and sizes so the reader can better judge how to hear each exclamation. My favorite yells are when the font goes large enough to be colored. Sing song dialogue comes from Jane, enhancing her insane persona. The sounds are superior, with the horses’ gallops, the horns of the city’s traffic, and the SSLLLLSSH! of Auguste’s blade wicked cool. The letters add to the power of the visuals. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Timelines are crossed to destroy a sorcerer. The reader should buckle in for this adventure! Auguste is the purest of heroes out to vanquish evil, while his sidekick and guide Jane is hiding something from this man. Future issues will undoubtedly reveal what’s not being told. The villains are delightfully creepy and gross. Both time periods look spectacular and I’m looking forward to seeing where else the hero will go and has been. Definitely a series to follow! Overall grade: A 

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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