I love villain books. The strength of a hero can be emphasized in the depth of their foes, but beyond that sometimes it’s just fun to see a bad guy cut loose. That’s what we get in Valiant’s The Forgotten Queen #1.
This debut issue is by Tini Howard, Amilcar Pinna, Ulises Arreola and Jeff Powel. It chronicles the history and origins of one of the deadliest villains in the Valiant Universe.
A deep sea exploration vessel begins its search for ancient Mongolian artifacts. Meanwhile, we see flashbacks to the history of War-Monger, the Forgotten Queen. As we flash back and forth, we discover one member of the crew may have ulterior motives in being on the expedition.
Howard does a really good job with the two separate stories. The expedition is full of tension and horror. The origins of the War-Monger are fascinating, as she appears fully formed and gets more devious and evil from there.
However, there is not a lot of connective tissue between the two. It creates a whiplash in tone as the pages shift back and forth. Perhaps if one of the expedition members was telling the story of War-Monger or they had discovered some sort of ancient tablets they were translating things would click better.
Pinna and Arreola really do some great work here. They shift between the two periods effortlessly. Pinna fills the modern sequences with disorienting camera angles and great character work. In the flashbacks, he plays things a bit more straightforward, but uses his layouts and angles to engage the reader.
Arreola uses two distinct palates in each sequence. His colors are bright in the modern scenes, with lots of blues and light, even when the pages are not on the ocean. In the past he fills the pages with reds and earth tones. Best of all, it all looks great.
This wasn’t the strongest first issue, but it was good, and I’m definitely looking forward to checking out the next.
The Forgotten Queen #1 is available for from Valiant Entertainment.