Horsemen #1 has a whole team behind this book: writers Mark C. Frankel and Joshua L.A. Jones, Christopher Manchey on art, Rich Cardoso on colors, and Cary Kelley on letters. It’s published by indie company Wayward Raven Media (I’ll be reviewing two other titles of theirs soon). Now let me tell you why I like it.
Horsemen is a reimagining of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They still have their names (Death, War, etc), but they don’t bring the end of the world. Rather, they are defending the universe and protecting Free Will against the forces of Fate and Destiny.
The horsemen are chosen from different races in the universe (though I can’t help but notice at least two of them are human). We open the story with a battle: War, Death, and Death’s race are fighting the armies of Destiny. War retreats because the battle is lost, but Death stays to fight to the end, because he wants to defend his people. So now the Horsemen need a new death. Destruction is sent to Earth and he grabs a man from Hiroshima just moments before the bomb hits. With much trepidation, the new man accepts the position and embarks on his first mission.
One of my favorite things about indie comics is their imagination, and I’m a big fan of how imaginative this comic is. The story is exciting and the characters memorable. It also amuses me that most of the characters have the standard speech balloons but Death and War have different colors and shapes to theirs. I love that design touch.
The art, for me, is hit and miss in some places, but that’s because I’m an artist myself and notice these things. For what it is, it matches the tone of the comic. And I have to say it again, I LOVE the design! When there are worlds touched by Fate and Destiny, you see the stylistic difference. Fate/Destiny is black and white while Free Will is full of color. Now that’s great!
It’s my hope that the penciller/inker of this series, Christopher Manchey, improves in his art over time, which I have the feeling that he will.