When a Monster Fighter Punches a Mountain in the Face

Best Foot Forward features outstanding comics that create an amazing, memorable, and impactful first issue.


Strayer-OneStrayer #1

Written By: Justin Jordan
Art By: Juan Gedeon
Cover Art By: Juan Gedeon
Published: January 27, 2016 by Aftershock Comics

Justin Jordan and Juan Gedeon’s Strayer #1 hit shelves a little over a week ago, and once again, Aftershock Comics is showing everyone they are a name to be recognized.

Strayer is set in a medieval world wherein magic and monsters are found. And when I say monsters, what we get in issue one is a mountain-sized rock creature with the ability to shoot fire from its eyes and mouth. Strayer, the protagonist from which the title is drawn, is a monster hunter..for hire. Mala, the co-star of this book, is a magic wielder. Well, sometimes she’s a magic wielder…other times, not so much.

After reading the first few pages it isn’t long before the tone of this book is set. Strayer is meant to be a fun, adventurous, fantasy book. We’re introduced to the main characters and given an almost surface level understanding of them. Yet, by the end of this issue, we find out there’s far more to this story than killing monsters.

Strayer-Panel

The midsection of this book delivers what was promised on the cover: monster fighting. By this point in the book we understand Strayer little better, and then for nine pages we get to watch him go toe-to-toe with a fire spitting mountain. At one point Mala joins the fight, and we see how Mala does her magic thing but clearly struggles with it. Once we’re through this epic battle scene, we wrap up with a teaser of Strayer’s past. It turns out Strayer may be far more than just some guy with a desire to destroy things for money. The ending of the book obviously sets us up for the next issue, and with that we are finished.

Strayer-Panel-Two

As for the quality of the book, Aftershock doesn’t skimp. The cover is a nice card stock, which feels great, and the pages are a nice glossy finish. The art printed on these pages is magnificently done by Juan Gedeon. His style has a simpler, at times, blocky feel to it, which is a refreshing breakaway from the typical. It’s nothing too extreme, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mignola was one of his influences. The coloring by Tamra Bonvillain is bright and vibrant, which goes perfectly with the story. While Strayer, and some of the background characters are meant to be more gritty, the dialogue delivers a levity and fun that allows this color scheme to work perfectly. And if it wasn’t clear earlier, allow me to say that the writing is fantastic, the pacing is great, and the character/story development is done wonderfully.

Verdict: Based on issue one, I’m definitely going to pick up issue two. Strayer aims to be a fun adventure ride in a genre that doesn’t always do well in comics, and as for this writer, I welcome it.

Strayer #2 available February 24, 2016

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