Travelling Man's Blog

Review: Magic of Myth: Fae by Travelling Man

Written by Corey Brotherson

Art by Sergio Calvet

Published by Doodle Doodle

£5 pre-order before the end of 18 April (launch day) with a free digital copy, £6 regular price


Robin has a problem; William Shakespeare. A Midsummer’s Night has just been published and is sweeping England. It’s a brilliant play, a bang on satire of Fae politics and one of Shakespeare’s all time greats.

But Robin is a girl.

And Puck, her character in the play…is…not.

As she sets off to make this right, Corey uses the young Fae to shine a light on the elements of his Magic of Myth universe. This is one of the most realistic and vibrant takes on the Fae you’ll read, and Corey walks us through their society with remarkable grace and a stunningly good eye for character. Oberon is a great example of this; a character who’s outlook and demeanour is established entirely through how he speaks. Oberon has, maybe, 15 words in the entire issue but he’s so grounded, so authoritative that you can’t help but remember them. Titania is just as memorable, far more articulate and far crueller. There are no wasted words with her and no words without a sharp edge to them. Likewise, Robin’s friends, especially the Green Man, feel like people we’ve known for years. Part of the reason for that is the archetypes Corey’s drawing from, the rest is that he’s a remarkably good writer.

But it’s Robin who you remember. Brilliant, brave, crushed and determined she’s caught between two warring parties who don’t want her and makes an impossible choice as a result. She carries the emotional weight of the story and never once buckles beneath it.

The second story here is a total gear shift and is actually the opening chapter of the series Fae ties into. Magic of Myth is excellent and focuses on Eve, an English teacher as well as a warrior. On the bad days, she’s honestly not sure which is scarier. Eve is the polar opposite of Robin; older, wiser, fewer damns to give and seeing her snark her way through the first in a series of tests is huge fun. It’s also where Calvet’s art really comes into its own. His style is rounded and expressive and fun everywhere but this story is where he really gets to show off. Corey’s script is light on its feet but has real weight to it and that’s cleverly communicated through Calvet’s deceptively light artwork. The end result is a beautiful book, one that honours its subject matter and provides a perfect on ramp to the larger story being told. Corey and Sergio are two of the best creators in the industry and this is some of their best work. Pick it up, and the rest of Magic of Myth, and find out just how good they are.

Review: Lazarus Volume 1: Family by Travelling Man

Written by Greg Rucka

Art and letters by Michael Lark, with Stefano Gaudiano and Brian Level

Colors by Santi Arcas

Covers by Michael Lark

Published by Image


There are three kinds of people in the future; Family, Serf and Waste. The Families have divided the world between them, constantly warring for each other’s domains. The Serfs are their staff, their soldiers, the people who’ve traded (or been traded) for a wage and a place to live. The Waste are the rest of us.

There is a fourth type. The Lazarus. They are unkillable soldiers, one per Family, whose job is to be the absolute rule of law and, when necessary, to go to war against each other. The Carlyle family Lazarus is named Forever. Her family call her Eve.

This is remarkable stuff. It was always going to be, coming from this creative team, but nonetheless, Lazarus is a remarkable achievement. This volume is effectively the ‘pilot episode’, establishing the family, Eve, the world and her place in it. It could have been four straight issues of exposition. Instead its needlepoint delicate in its exploration of a world that’s been broken by an uber class and what happens when they’re not looking.

The Families are a wonderful, Shakespearean conceit and they’re portrayed as truly monstrous here. Eve is a weapon, one that her family need to keep sharpened. But she’s also a young woman and she clings to the crumbs of affection they throw her in a way that’s as haunting as it is subtle. Her relationship with her father is arguably the strongest, the elder Carlyle treating her like a trusted adviser but even this is curdled. There’s a repeated line he has that tells you everything you need to know about how he views his youngest daughter. The others are much worse, a collection of cold-hearted scientists and demented hell yuppies all focused on using her for their own ends or, if possible, just ending her. In other words, even when she isn’t fighting, Eve’s at war.

But even when Eve isn’t fighting, she’s dangerous. Equal parts nuclear weapon and envoy, much of this book is concerned with a secret mission Eve is given to negotiate with the Morray family. She’s a perceptive diplomat, a woman fully prepared to use courtesy as well as her katana to get the job done. This leads in turn to one of the most impressive elements of the book; the realization that Eve is an outsider not just because of her training and abilities, but because she’s the only one looking to the future. She has a unique perspective and every single other member of her family views that as a threat.

Let’s talk about violence. There’s a lot of it here, so much so that the book opens with Eve being beaten to death. She then gets back up and kills her murderers with far more grace but no less brutality. She’s built for war, and Lark, Gaudiano and Level show us this on every page. An early check-up scene demonstrates this perfectly. Eve is wearing workout gear and, on paper, it’s a textbook chance for the book to exploit her femininity. There’s no hint of that here though, with the art portraying her as the largest presence in the room. Eve is physically perfect and deeply intimidating. Compared to her, the rest of her family look small, fragile, mortal. No wonder they’re all terrified of her.

Lazarus is a fantastic book, covering multiple bases and themes with the same ease that Eve uses to dismantle people. It’s a coming of age story, a classic piece of dystopian science fiction, a Shakespearean story of warring nobility and a character study all at once. It’s easily one of the best books Image have put out in a year crammed full of incredible titles and at this price you absolutely need to pick it up.

Review: Lazarus Issue 1 by Travelling Man

‘Family’ Part 1

Written by Greg Rucka

Art and letters by Michael Lark

Colour by Santi Arcas

Cover art and colour by Michael Lark

Published by Image


It’s the near future. The world is divided along wealth lines far more than geographical or religious ones. If you’re Family, then you have all the resources you need. If you’re a servant of the Families, then you have a roof, a job, hope. If you have neither of those things, you’re Waste.

War is of course constant. With that in mind, each Family has a Lazarus. The Lazarus is a Family member gifted with the best advances in technology, trained to protect their Family at all costs and, essentially, unkillable. The Family Carlyle’s Lazarus is called Forever. She’s murdered on page one. Then the book really begins.

Rucka sketches in the world with minimal strokes, each telling us far more than they seem to. He carefully escalates the amount of information we get throughout the book until what we saw is no longer what we know and the true nature of the world is made clear. This is particularly true of the brutal opening, where Forever (Or Eve) is shot by one of three looters. The three men give every appearance of being hardned criminals, one armed with a gun, one a sledgehammer, one a sword. The man with the gun keeps firing until Eve drops and then they make a run for it.

Six pages later they’re all dead.

By the end of the book you know who they really were and that the situation is much more complex than it appears.

This idea, that perception isn’t fact, is something Rucka’s script plays with constantly. The men who kill Eve have a more complex agenda than it first seems, her doctor James, blithely breaks confidentiality without her knowledge and her brother Jonah views her as nothing more than an asset. We see the world how it is, Eve sees the world how she’s been taught to and the end result is a surprisingly intimate, gripping piece of science fiction. This is a world where the few have everything and yet, somehow, life is precious even as it’s snubbed out. The circular nature of the script, starting and finishing with Eve being debriefed by James speaks not only to that but the fact she’s starting to struggle with how often she’s asked to kill. As the first issue finishes, that nascent guilt is suppressed. It’s not going to stay down long, just like Eve herself.

Michael Lark is one of the most impressive artists working today and his work here just bears that out. The characters are distinctive and expressive, the technology is neatly tweaked from the present day and the character interaction is as subtle as the violence is brutal. Lark is just as at home depicting Eve breaking a man’s neck as he is showing her silent, camouflaged grief at having do it. His characters feel real, and human, and his design work on Eve is especially praiseworthy. There’s no hint of the usual tedious sexualisation of female characters here, even though Eve’s physical perfection is a crucial plot point. Instead she’s depicted in subtle isolation, taller, stronger and in better condition than anyone else in the book and somehow imprisoned rather than freed by that. She’s a fascinating figure, equal parts blank page and sea of emotional turmoil and Lark makes us feel everything, from the horrific violence she endures and hands out to the grief she can’t look in the eyes. Special mention should also go to Santi Arcas’ colours, especially the clinical green of the Family medical facility and the sun-blasted yellows and browns of the farm.

Lazarus isn’t just one of the best books put out this month, it’s a strong contender for book of the year. There’s a huge story here, a fascinating, awful world waiting to be discovered by Eve and the readers alike. Do yourself a favour, and start that journey now.

%d bloggers like this: