Pullbox Reviews Embers #1- Opening a supernatural adventure series, with art that burns on the page

  • Embers #1
  • Created & Written by Kevin Knox
  • Illustrated by Camron Johnson
  • Lettering by Jeremiah Lambert
  • Available in print at select locations across Illinois & Iowa
  • Available in digital format for your Kindle

A con artist for a mother. A drifter for a father. Trinity is trying to come to terms with a painful childhood by proving that at least one story she was told is true. Yet the truth isn’t always what we want it to be.

Embers looks like it could really be an interesting edition to the supernatural adventure comic selection on your shelf. Based on what I’ve seen of the first issue, it’s taken a cool approach as creator Kevin Knox isn’t just pulling supernatural tropes out of a hat at random. He’s done some research and uses a more obscure historical event to flesh things out.

In the book’s opening, the reader is brought into the story through the Nueces Massacre, a decidedly one-sided battle in 1862 between Confederate soldiers & German-Americans who had settled in central Texas. During the slaughter, the victorious Confederates run afoul of a fiery knight that seems connected to a talisman carried by one of the dying Germans. While it isn’t enough stop the carnage, it does set the stage for a time jump to 2012 where we catch up with the story’s main character, Trinity.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Knox is working fast, setting Trinity up as the no-nonsense, take no guff young lady who isn’t afraid to put a man in his place. The exchange between Trinity and her ride, Saul, might have been expanded on to give a little more information on what’s happening, but Knox moves us along, seeming to skip over pieces of the conversation. In the process, there are details that may have been lost, but we get to where we need to be. Trinity didn’t have the greatest upbringing, she’s on her way to join her father at a dig site (I think) and gets left in the middle of the Texas desert because Saul- who’s apparently working for her dad (I think)- gets mad that she won’t put out. Yeah, it happens about that fast, but it sets Trinity up for the important reveal, that she is in some way connected to the same medallion we saw in the intro. Once the establishing info is laid out on the table, it’ll be interesting to see if Knox can slow down to take a breath breath and let the story play out a little more evenly.

Where Embers really shines is in the artwork by Camron Johnson. I’ve been a fan of his since I ran across his table at a Mighty Con in Milwaukee a few years back. Since then, I’ve accumulated his books (Thy Neighbor, Bone Check vol 1 & 2), a couple prints that were commissioned by a friend of mine for a nerdy little dream project, and a fantastic Wolverine sketchcover that I got to see live on one of Camron’s live streams. His work is often highlighted by a ridiculous attention to detail and the ability to use color for some outstanding lighting effects. In Embers, Johnson transitions from the distant past to more recent times using different color palettes to set the stage. The money shot comes when Trinity finds this mystical talisman and accidentally uses it to summon the same vengeful knight we last saw in 1862. One page in this comic makes all of the difference, and lemme tell ya…

It.

Is.

Gorgeous.

Through all the shortcuts taken to get the story where we need to be by the end of issue one, Knox keeps both hands on the wheel (10 o’clock and 2 o’clock) and doesn’t let the narrative get out of control. Johnson’s work is outstanding and lays out some bait to lure in comic readers looking for a little flash. Readers not looking to spend a lot of time getting invested should be able to find a payoff here, while those who like to see historical events woven into a fantasy narrative will be able to appreciate the homework done in preparation for this series.

Final Score: 10/13

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