Advance Review: Aya Emerges From The Shadows In `Tales From Nottingham’ #1

by Tom Smithyman


Returning fans and new readers will enjoy the initial installment of this anthology series, which tells the backstory of several Nottingham characters. Written and drawn by the same creative team as the regular series, this limited series effectively fills in some of the story’s gaps.


For years, the Mad Cave Studios’ series Nottingham has presented a twisted version of the story of Robin Hood and Everard Blackthorne, the Sheriff of Nottingham. This new limited series is meant to tell the backstories from characters and bridge the gap between volumes.

The creative team chose to first tell the story of Muslim assassin Aya of the Hashashin’s first kill. It’s a pretty big one – Conrad of Montferrat, the King of Jerusalem. In real life, Conrad was felled by two assassins – one of whom was killed and the other captured. In this version of the story, though, the killed assassin is actually Aya, who barely survived the attack.

Though a flashback, writer David Hazan takes us back through Aya’s rigorous training with the other killer, her lover Hamza. As a series co-creator, Hazan obviously knows his characters well and provides a fitting backstory for Aya, who will end up playing a key role in the ongoing story. She is a strong character who believes in her cause, even if the higher ups aren’t telling her everything she needs to know.

Artist Shane Connery Volk is also no stranger to these characters, having drawn the regular series since the beginning. His Aya is strong, voluptuous and as beautiful as she is deadly. His action scenes are exciting, though his frenetic artistic style can take a little getting used to at first.

Colorist Luca Romano helps to distinguish the sets of other characters through light. The invading Christians from Europe are typically portrayed in the light of day, while the Muslims are often seen in the shadows, as you would expect from stealthy assassins.

While this anthology series will appeal to regular readers of Nottingham, even new readers will be able to find something interesting in the story of these interesting characters.

Tales From Nottingham #1 will be available for purchase on February 1, 2023.

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