Writer: Stuart C. Paul
Pencils: Christian Duce
Colors: Christian Duce
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Shannon Eric Denton & Scott Peterson
Cover: Michael Geiger
This comic is kicking major @$$!!! It’s so refreshing to be reading a creator-owned work that this hitting it on all cylinders!
One thing I instantly appreciated about this issue is that I was able to finally grasp which characters were present and what their names were. Don’t misunderstand; this was not by Stuart Paul’s error in earlier issues at all. It’s just that this is such a dense comic I was getting lost with all the characters presented. Plus the fact that some of the Roman names of people and places are hard to pronounce here. But Paul does a great job of allowing us to recognize each of the characters and their roles now. For example, Anthony, the former friend of our main character Valen’s shows how truly brutal he can be. The opening scene between Anthony and Valen’s was highly cringe-inducing.
Remember how I’ve described this as Gladiator with vampires? Well, Stuart Paul is taking that premise and had so much fun with it in this issue. Imagine the scene with Russell Crowe in Gladiator where he first fights in a match and the colorful characters he’s matched up against. Now imagine those opponents are monstrous that are super strong and super fast. That’s the setting for the awesome battle Valens has during the course of this issue. Artist Christian Duce does an incredible job of illustrating some of these creatures and making an extremely action-packed and intense confrontation.
Stuart Paul has also done an excellent job of creating great dialogue and this issue is no exception. I did notice that Paul had more fun with the dialogue this issue. It seems as if he’s getting more comfortable in telling this story and how each character delivers their lines. The great dialogue mixed with amazing action made this one of the most fun reads I’ve picked up.
Even though the news of Wildstorm shutting down is sad, it’s great to see such a superb comic being one of the last to be printed under the imprint. Both Stuart Paul and Christian Duce are going to be sought after creators from here on out. And for those of you who are not checking out Ides of Blood now, you will be when these two guys make names for themselves. Mark my words!
9 out of 10 (Excellent!)