Arktoons launched two weeks ago with an incredibly strong out-of-the-gate lineup. Arkhaven has released 30 titles as of this writing and is still rolling hot. Just go to Arkhaven.com and pick a comic and read.  That’s it. There is no fee, “great stories belong to the world.” You will find the system extremely mobile friendly, more so than anything else out there today. 

Now on to the roundup:

Shade

Source: Shade

The Legend himself Chuck Dixon proved he is still The Legend. The Punisher and Batman writer now brings you; Shade.

As his name implies, Shade isn’t all that big on respect.  While he is a member of the government-supported Global Justice Initiative, Shade more closely resembles the Outlaw hero archetype.

Count Zollern is a rogue in the older sense of the word.  He was born into the European aristocrat class and while he clearly identifies with that class, he does so to a degree that other members of the aristocracy now find unfashionably retrograde.  They think their privilege should be a source of deep shame and he isn’t ashamed of his in the least.

This week’s episode gives us a view of the origins of Count Zollern’s past, the roots of his anger, and the inner demons that drive him on.  Yet, he claims the destruction of his ancient family means nothing to him.  I’m quite certain that Count Zollern is a liar.

Source: Shade

Bruce Wayne established the Billionaire-Playboy-by-day-masked-Crime-fighter-by-night stereotype.  It’s been used a LOT since then.  Oliver Queen, Tony Stark, Danny Rand, Adrian Veidt, Ted Kord, you can think of plenty of others by yourself.  But Dixon has come up with a fascinating inversion of that stereotype. 

In theory, you can sympathize with Count Zollern but he’s such an arrogant bastard you just can’t. 

That’s what makes him interesting. 

Swan Knight Saga

Source: Swan Knight Saga

No one currently alive produces better prose than John C. Wright.  I want to bury, with shame, my unworthy keyboard every time I read his words. 

As such, I admit I had some initial concerns about seeing his prose turned into a graphic representation.  You know that saying, “one picture is worth a thousand words?”  Yeah, not if John C. Wright is crafting those words.

However, I think this book has been an excellent melding of picture and word.  Which of course, is the entire point of comic books in the first place.

The very first frame of Gilberec Parzival Gil is seen in richly shaded black and white, it really does tell you almost everything you need to know about this young man. 

Source: Swan Knight Saga

Mystery is at the heart of this first part of the story but it’s not like JJ Abrams-style mystery box where there will be nothing but another mystery.  There will be something very substantive in this story.

John C. Wright tells deeply Christian stories, in my own opinion he is in Madeleine L’Engle’s league if not better.

A Throne of Bones

Source: A Throne of Bones

 “Hear now, the woes of the infantryman.  He rises when there is yet an hour for sleep.  He is driven like an ass until the sunsets. He obeys without question commands that make no sense.  And must eat of that which even the jackals disdain.” – Ancient Egyptian hymn.

Roman military fantasy is hard to get right.  Not just the historical details, although you had better sweat those details because when you write Roman military fantasy, you have implicitly invited a million history nerds to play pick-apart.

I was a career military man and this book gets the feel of that life, right. Fathers who are soldiers have to spend half their life away from their sons.  You only get to see your boy’s life in snapshots between deployments. You see what’s there, but you also see what isn’t and you constantly wonder what you would have made of your son if things had been different. If you had been the kind of man who would have been home a lot more for his boy.

Sons of military men for their part, are often left wondering the same thing. What would my life be like if my Dad was here more? Yet, there is rarely much in the way of real resentment.  Loneliness and longing to be certain but you know your Dad has an important job to do.  The most important one in the world according to your Mom. And in trying to find their fathers, military sons more often than not follow their fathers into a life before the banners.

Source: A Throne Of Bones

This little scene really spoke to me on a personal level.

Midnight’s War

Source: Midnight’s War

What if Vampires were literally running the entire world?  Everything makes so much more sense when viewed from that perspective doesn’t it?

So far, we don’t know the rules for the world that Vox Day has established.  There hasn’t been much in the way of exposition yet.  So, we are having to learn by playing as were.  For you writers out there, this is called “show, don’t tell.”  This is the hallmark of somebody who is doing it right.

The people who live in the world of Midnight’s War do so knowing that they have to go through a life where there is red gold quite literally flowing through their veins.  It’s a world where your life is cheap, but your blood isn’t, and you have no right to either one.

Looting the dead is a fairly ancient battlefield custom and, in this world, there is one thing you absolutely don’t let go to waste.           

Source: Midnight’s War

The Hammer of Freedom

Source: Arktoons

Arkhaven’s most popular title is from the Brazilian powerhouse Superprumo Comics. 

I could start with the word, “stark,” and then work my way down the synonyms in powerthesaurus but I’ll stick with, “stark.”  This book is shockingly stark.  

Life-crushing, starvation-making, soul-rending Communism should have been thrown on the ash heap of the 20th century as an abject failure.  Everyone knows that it has always resulted in poverty, brutal oppression, and deaths in the millions.

Instead, it’s on the rise again. The countries that resisted its call during the twentieth century seem determined to follow this blood-soaked road once again on the grounds that, “Communism is actually fine, it just hasn’t been done right, yet.” One wonders when it’s finally done right, will there be anyone left on Earth at all?

When we meet our protagonist, he is hunting the streets of Sao Paulo for his next meal. He’d like to find a nice dog to shoot but they’ve been dead for years. Luckily for him, there is a ready alternative.

Source: The Hammer of Freedom

I’m only three issues in on this series by Luciano Cunha and I’m saying it now.  This one might finally be the new Watchmen.

That’s our top five for this week.  Arkhaven’s publisher promises that Arktoons content will be free to all, forever. However, if you would like to support the website, please consider buying a subscription.

See you next week.

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