Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews. This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.
A reminder for you. Here at PopCultureSquad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler. We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues. Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.
This week’s preview comic is Excellence #1 from Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph, published by Image Comics. This is one of the books that we were eagerly anticipating and featured in our New Number Ones column for May. You can find Excellence at your LCS or on Comixology on May 8, 2019.
Written by Brandon Thomas
Art by Khary Randolph
Colors by Emilio Lopez
Letters by Deron Bennett
Covert Art by Randolph & Lopez
Spencer Dales was born into a world of magic. His father belongs to the Aegis, a secret society of black magicians ordered by their unseen masters to better the lives of others—of higher potential—but never themselves.
Now it’s time for Spencer to follow in his father’s footsteps, but all he sees is a broken system in need of someone with the wand and the will to change it. But in this fight for a better future…who will stand beside him?
This is a terrific debut issue. The world building and table setting done in this issue are impressive. The ability to define the parameters of the environs that the characters dwell in while telling a compelling origin story is special.
Brandon Thomas makes use of historic narrative in a subtle way. The story reads very much as present tense, but we are gently reminded at appropriate times that all that we are seeing is in the past to the narrator. This technique double the interest in the story. While the audience is absorbed into the displayed action, there is a seed planted that there is even more to come and the anticipation for that grows. Besides the excellent technical devices, Thomas’s characters are filled with emotion and there is an edge to this book that is exciting.
Khary Randolph’s art in this book is phenomenal. The character designs are excellent. The facial acting is damn near photographic. The story requires a lot of the artist to deliver dramatic expressions and he absolutely nails it. The action sequences, which are plentiful, are just gorgeous.
Lopez’s colors are stellar. The storytelling through consistent tones and differentiation of light is high quality and adds a lot of strength to the mood of each scene. Bennett’s lettering is wonderful. His use of colored lettering boxes to isolate off-panel dialogue is excellently done.
The entire creative team really poured everything they have into this book. That much is obvious to the audience. What is also obvious is that they created an intriguing story in a interesting world. We are supremely happy with this book and look for much more Excellence!