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Supa Exclusive review Numba 1 - Legends of the Geomancer

Written by CajunBean on Wednesday, July 15 2015 and posted in Reviews

Supa Exclusive review Numba 1 - Legends of the Geomancer

The ultimate marketing gambit has begun. Will fans fall into line, or will thousands raise their middle fingers in salute to a book few will ever read?

Source: Valiant

Writer: Fred Van Lente

Artist: Jaun Ryp

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

So this will be an odd review for an odd book that has chosen an odd marketing route. 

First off let me spell out why this book is odd for those outside of the loop. This is a unique marketing device that Valiant has opted to use this go around. They are trying to recreate that super exclusive Harbinger #0 feel from the early 90's incarnation, in which a few dedicated fans who mutilated issues and mailed in slips from within several different issues received an exclusive issue. It was a great marketing ploy, in which Valiant managed to sell double issues of many of its books for a few months, and in return its fans got a neat little nerd trophy.

Now Legends of the Geomancer is another incentive book. It's not a variant cover, it's an entirely different variant book. They are printing one book for every 25 Books of Death. It's a different story about different characters, and the idea was to make an exclusive book for only die-hard Valiant fans. So, to collect the four issue mini-series (which will never be made into a TPB, supposedly) it is going to run the average fan $100. This series will be super limited, like less than 1000 printings per issue most likely, but it is kind of a middle finger to the fan base who can't spend that kind of scratch on a single issue. Plus the book is only 20 pages long which is a second little kick to the head.

Now, as for the review itself. The book is obnoxiously good. Writer Fred Van Lente is back in the Valiant Universe. He invokes a tone outside of his usual comedic demeanor and builds up an ancient Geomancer world quite beautifully. The setting is a destitute muddy existence where those who live seem only to scrape by, and existence is subjugated by the strong. Brutality is conjured on every page, and the primal nature of this world feels deep and cruel.

Van Lente even drops a nod to the brother Anni-Padda, which should have fans of the Immortal Brother (Armstrong, Ivar the Time Walker, and Gillad the Eternal Warrior) smirking ever so lightly.

The visual duo of artist Jaun Ryp and Colorist Jordie Belaire hammer it out of the park. The book is dense with hideous worn characters painted in shades of earth and blood. It is beautiful and ugly at the same time. The characters' line work feels haggard and worn out, creating a real sense of the existence these poor creatures suffer. Everything beyond the blood itself is washed out in shades of mud and grey. The panels basically feel perfectly fleshed out, and it irks me how much I enjoyed this book.

In summation, its a great read, and it is tragic that many completionists and casual fans will miss out. It is a fun story and a gorgeous (if brief) bit of art. If each issue didn't cost well more than a TPB, I would say scoop this up, but with a $25 price tag, I would say just let this series go unless you REALLY have extra cash to shred.

Quality: 4 out of 5.

Availability: 1 per 25.


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About the Author - CajunBean

He was born in the swamps of Louisiana, where he spent his days punching gators in the crotch and funneling gumbo til his eyes bled. Then one day, a powerful foreign entity dragged him across several state lines, and tethered him to the Colorado Rockies, where he lives in perpetual fear of freezing to death and there is nary a gator crotch in sight for punching. Now he hides inside, dreading snow flurries, and hammering away reviews and non-nonsensical ramblings for the outhouse overlords (cuz apparently someone saw fit to lord over outhouses). 

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