Gabriel Rodriguez has big plans for his sword & sci-fi series, Sword of Ages, and so don’t be surprised that with the resolution to this two-part all out battle between the various factions of this weird and wonderful world, there is the promise of more to come. Issue #5 sees the end of Book 1 in this Arthurian-influenced saga and while there are many deaths and a world in the midst of social flux and change, there is hope too.
Avalon and her merry band of warriors, alongside the forces of The White Monks of The Twin Moons, take up from where they left off last issue in a comic that is more or less one large, drawn out, adrenaline-laced, widescreen finale that leaves the world changed and wounded. Meanwhile, the outer space colonists, The Black Templars, continue to flex their advanced technology that seems to be mixed in with magical forces controlled by Lord Morgan.
It’s thanks to the meticulously choreographed fight scenes that Rodriguez depicts across this issue that this remains a gripping read and stunning book. Having created many of his locations as 3D maps, Rodriguez offers up a cohesive, consistent full-scale dust up in which he never loses sight of each player’s role and place within the fortress citadel of Caledia. The fine lined art could easily be lost in all that is going on in this issue and it’s thanks to colourist, Lovern Kindzierski, that this never occurs. It’s a beautiful book form start to finish, even if this issue is drenched in the blood of the dead, dying and fallen.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this first arc, pouring over the art long after I’ve finished reading each issue. It’s certainly a book I will no doubt return to in the future too. Rodriguez has taken a well loved and, arguably, well trodden legend and set it against a completely different backdrop with very different interpretations of some of King Arthur’s Round Table Knight too. The results is a fresh take on a over familar story of magical swords, menacing invaders and the Hero’s Journey. Avalon has only taken the first few steps on that journey and I’ll be happy to join her again in the future when the dust is settled and both the protagonists and their enemies take stock of what’s occurred. This feels like Rodriguez’s Star Wars, with the ominous feeling that the next story arc may very well be his Empire Strikes Back.
After all, its always darkest just before sunrise, right?
I have a bad feeling that Avalon and her merry men will soon find this out to be true.
Sword of Ages #5 is out now from IDW.