When the thing that defines you is stripped away, what else remains? That’s the question Daniel Warren Johnson looks to answer in his latest debut from Image Comics. Part revenge epic, part family drama, this first issue is endlessly inventive and gleefully bloody, though more is needed from the concept to prove it has legs.
Like any good story about loss, Johnson at first allows readers to appreciate what came before. Of course, as soon as we’re introduced to the artistic talents of lead Thea, the character loses both her mother and her drawing hand in a senseless attack from the neighboring Paznina. That loss sets the tone of the rest of the read, Johnson doing a nice job of detailing how the attack shapes each member of her remaining family. Thea’s father, Jerome, is driven by his grief, and his role as the Abba of the Roto Clan puts him in prime position to do something about it. Her brother, Rollo, is in a tougher spot, bound by both the expectations of his lineage and the constraints of his own conscience. With the Roto Clan looking to get their revenge on those who so irrevocably changed their fates, Thea, Rollo and Jerome are all stretched in uniquely complicated, and often violent, ways.