The first issue of New Praetorians reads like an early Image comic, but in the best of possible ways. Writer R.K. Syrus and artist Satine Phoenix crafted an energetic blend of super-powered beings and military action that was a hallmark of those giddy early days of Image Comics, and even better they manage to do it with a deft hand on characterization and storytelling that was missing from so many of those early Image books (no matter how much we loved them).
For me, the big draw was Phoenix's art. While her art lacks the polish of a more experienced illustrator, it is still dynamic and full of tension. Like in a good action movie, the art plays with light and shadow, making it representative of the shadowy world in which these characters operate. I find her art to be reminiscent of early Ming Doyle with a strong eye for characterization. The art works well with the writing to maintain the high energy of the story.
The New Praetorians setting exists in a world that is right next door to comics like Wetworks or G.I. Joe, where high technology creates tomorrow's soldiers today. Fans of those books, or any sort of high tech military thrillers need to check out this comic.
Syrus' writing gives us a tense and energetic story. The action of the story starts right in the middle of the action, with main character Colonel Sienna McKnight captured by hostile forces, and her character revealed through flashback. We find out more about who she is, and how she ended up in her situation. The storytelling is deft and finds that sweet spot between over-exposition and not telling us enough about things. Even in these few pages the characters are fleshed out enough to make me want to keep reading the comic. I am eagerly awaiting the next issue of the book.
I recommend tracking down this comic if you're a fan of military action or comics with well-written female leads. As strong as this first issue is, I think that the book can only get better from here and I look forward to enjoying the ride.
It looks like the first issue of New Praetorians will be coming out around the end of May, and currently it appears to be only available directly from the publisher. Convince your comic store to order this from the publisher today. A digital version is available through iTunes.
Christopher Helton is a blogger, podcaster and tabletop RPG publisher who talks about games and other forms of geekery at the long-running Dorkland! blog. He is also the co-publisher at the ENnie Award winning Battlefield Press, Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @dorkland and on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+ChristopherHelton/ where he will talk your ear off about gaming and comics. Christopher is also crowdfunding expenses for his summer convention coverage, including Gen Con.