Rating: 3.5/5 – A Fun New Fantasy World from a New Publisher.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The team over at Mad Cave Studios sent us the first three issues of Battlecats and I’m glad that they did. I had fun reading these first three issues from this up and coming creative studio. There’s plenty of digital comics out there and sometimes it can be hard for a new reader to filter through a lot of what’s out there, while at the same time, it can be just as hard for an emerging publisher to find new readers. After reading these first few issues, I’m now looking forward to future issues and watching this up and coming talent grow.
Battle Cats is for fans of fantasy and you can see that movies like Lord of the Rings served as inspiration for the team, writer Mark London and artist Andy King. There are five members of the Battlecats, each with their own unique powers and skill sets. There’s Kaleera the female archer, Mekkar the bard who provides the humor, Kelthan who’s the best designed and leader of the group, Zorien the muscle, and Vaela the mage. This group of “talking lions” are sent on a mission from their king to kill a Dire beast, although they’re not sure why just yet. Meanwhile we’re introduced to a couple villains, the king and a whole lot of soldiers who get violently slaughtered. Each of the three issues does a nice job of giving you a little more information on the character’s powers and personality, but we still haven’t seen any of their origins which could allow the reader to have a more emotional connection to individual members of the team.
The first and second issue’s fight scenes went on a bit too long, but the action and art did keep me entertained as the Battlecats slice, dice and decapitate enemy after enemy. I’m hoping we’re provided with a bit more context and substance to the characters in future issues rather than the quick comments about their past, setting or a locale the team makes, assuming we as the reader have the same understanding as the other characters. For example, in issue two Zorien makes a comment that he has “seen quicksand behave like this in the plains of Il-Shavar”. While it hints at past adventures, I’d rather get more insight into the characters first before hearing about other locales since this place name has no meaning or relevance to me as of yet. The third issue is the strongest of the three and does a nice job of balancing action and character drama while pushing the story forward.
In terms of art, Andy King provides the digital pencils and while his character work is still evolving, he does a solid job of drawing a team of five and giving each of them a signature look. King’s characters have a more animated “manga-like” feel to them and he’s able to create some cool looking locales, I enjoyed the coloring by Alejandro Giraldo, but I will say that the effects found within the art definitely stand out. A lot of times when reading books from young or new publishers, the colors and effects can look cheap and overused. Here, they add to the storytelling. Whether it’s a subtle green glow from the eyes, or purple energy bursting from a magical spell, the effects fit within and seem part of the art.
You can find Battlecats and a couple more titles at Mad Cave Studios’ website, or purchase their books from Amazon, DriveThruComics, or Comixology. There are plenty of digital comics out there, but the quality of the art and writing can be hit or miss. While this may not be the same level of quality as one of the larger publishers, it was an enjoyable read and it’s fun to see new talent trying to make their way in a crowded industry. I’ll definitely be back for issue number four and if you’re looking for something new, give this a shot.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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