I was lucky enough to pick up a very limited comic con exclusive edition of the new comic series from Heavy Metal Comics, Iron Maiden: Legacy of The Beast, this past weekend at LFCC (limited to a run of 666 of course) and thought I’d share my thoughts on this debut issue with you. This all black cover is already going for silly money of eBay, but not mine, having been lucky enough to get it signed by storyteller Llexi Leon and Ian Edginton, the series’ scripter. And, while I was never a big Heavy Metal music fan, I have always appreciated the fantastic covers bands like Iron Maiden sported throughout their career, and in particular the character of Eddie, their iconic mascot of mayhem. So, sit back and turn the volume up to 11 and we’ll begin.
This opener establishes Eddie as an ’embodiment of free will, a chaotic spirit’ but, more importantly for this story, ‘the unseen catalyst during crucial turning points in history’. He’s one of the good guys! A force of creativity that stands in dual opposition to The Beast’s own longterm plan. Not, as we all thought before now, to deliver us into temptation with sinful promises of lust, avarice, gluttony, etc. but rather a more devious plan: ‘to crush the soul with conformity‘ and turn the world into a great race. And, from where I’m sitting, it’s working! Or rather it would be if not for the creativity within us all and the urge for it to break loose of society’s shackles.
It’s a great premise, really, turning our preconceived ideas of what the Devil has done throughout literary history on its head. And one that will resonate with many a reader too. Eddie, then, can be seen as the ultimate rebel spirit, and Iron Maiden’s music–and Heavy Metal for that matter–as a conduit of that philosophy. Or not, as Jello Biafra commented on back on his No More Cocoons spoken word album from a good while back now: “Heavy Metal is the most conservative of all loud music. Let’s face it, not even a gym teacher could get as many people to dress alike.” He’s not wrong. Just don’t tell Eddie, or metalheads.
Along for the ride is a wise cracking mentor, The Clairvoyant, an enigmatic hooded figure of supernatural bent who informs Eddie that his soul has been ‘shattered and scattered across time and space’. And, someone who may not be telling the whole truth. We shall see in subsequent issues in this 5 part series.
To regain his soul, Eddie will need to travel through the world’s of Iron Maiden’s past glories; the landscapes that have adorned their covers for decades. So, Ancient Egypt could well be on the cards (from the cover of their Powerslave LP) or simply somewhere in time. The Beast seems to be helped out by a right rogues gallery so I fell we may well be in for a ‘monster of the month’ kind of series, with each subsequent issue focusing on a particular time and place. Anywhere from here to eternity, I imagine. I do hope so, as I love those kind of stories.
This is an issue that neatly sets up the story, the motivation and the cast of characters which are all taken from the video game this series helps to promote. It’s a fun, pacey read, thanks to Ian Edginton’s script, and the art by Kevin West is marvelously bombastic, as a comic based on a metal group should be. As I said earlier, it’s also a great new concept having The Beast trying to control civilisation by pacifying us and turning us all into conformist sheople. Like Iron Maiden themselves, this isn’t a comic that takes itself too seriously and that in itself is a breath of fresh air in a market that still favours the dour doings of the likes of Batman and other shadowy super folk.
This is a great looking comic and a fun read. And, you really don’t need to like Iron Maiden to like this comic, which is more ho-ho, than horror; although there is blood spilt. But, not enough to turn your stomach and have you run to the hills.
Iron Maiden: Legacy of The Beast #1 will be out on general release in October, but you can download the video game of the same name for iOS and Android now.