Writer: J.T. Krul & Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art: Jordan Gunderson, Mark Roslan & Peter Steigerwald
Colors: Peter Steigerwald & John Starr
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: ASPEN COMICS (July 2016)
The world of Soulfire shows Malikai talking about the end of the world. The sky is orange and red. Grace, Benoist and the rest of the gang are worried that it would be the rest of the world. Benoist and Grace use both their combined technology and mystical powers in order to create a portal through time. Suddenly, he’s in another time where the world is a barren wasteland till he’s attacked by Aspen. As the historic meeting of Aspen and Malikai end up with them deciding to come together … a stunning revelation is revealed about their worlds … while we get another revelation behind the threat that destroyed Aspen’s time … a FAMILIAR threat …
The issue is pure set up and we meet Aspen. There’s multiple times we get to see the deal with Malikai, but there is a small conversation about Aspen’s battles … it just feels a little … loopsided for one of the main characters of this event and the flagship character of the company.
The Moment of the Issue:
At first, it was gonna be the revelation of the two worlds and times … but then the last page … THAT was definitely the moment of the issue.
Krul and Fialkov present a strong first issue in this universe changing event. The writers create a good introduction to the cast of Soulfire as well as Aspen. The backgrounds of the issue are part of the mystery as they build to two major revelations this issue … which is paced perfectly. Malikai and Aspen particular get some good characterization here. Aspen has become hardened, ready to find and seemingly kill … and that is hinted because of the horrors she had to endure seeing her world being destroyed. The dialogue was good. There was exposition given to us, but dealt with the dialogue that felt very authentic and not just a data dump. Malikai is being this pillar of hope that really does match his character, particularly after the events of All New Soulfire. Malikai has learned a lot for all his time with his crew and Fialkov & Krul make sure to reflect that with him being far more confidence than readers have ever seen in … and made him that much more captivating. Also,the two major revelations were handled with care and were both very, VERY huge. While the first revelation has been leaked … the second revelation at the end of the book was definitely one of those with me going “… wait … WHAT THE F***! … HOW?! … WHY?! … How could you do this to me comic book?! ”
Meanwhile, Gunderson’s art has never looked so clean, so crisp and better as Gunderson’s pencils are lovely chiseled out by the inks of Roslan and Steigerwald. Gunderson really gets to go wild with a wide range of characters and objects for him to do. Gunderson’s pencils with inks by Roslan and Steigerwald really make every panel nice and pronounced. The art sharpness really grabs readers and nearly every panel could be a poster or portrait. Particularly the splash pages. Steigerwald’s and Starr’s colors escalate the art, making every single panel a sheer wonder to behold. From the vast wastelands of the world readers see to the battle between Aspen and Malikai to the final splash page. The robot animals are rendered stunningly. This is definitely one of the best looking issues that Aspen has ever produced.
Aspen Universe: Revelations #1 more than lives up to the hype. The story seems and is presented simply while being multi-layered. There are hints of lots of things to come. Fialkov and Krul craft an issue that is great for new readers while not talking down long time readers. Relationships and conversations are not wasted, allowing readers to follow and building upon the story as well as flesh out our characters. While Aspen does not have as much screen time, it only hurts the issue slightly. And the over tone of the issue capture triumphantly by every single creative part of the book. Lettering, color, inks, pencils and writing are all done exquisitely. I’m excited to see what will come in this event and what long term effects, especially after the two major revelations this issue dropped. Aspen Universe: Revelations #1 is a rewarding introduction to the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end and I’m excited for the ride.