Set in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity’s history has been largely forgotten outside of the mysterious Elder Race, J. Edward Scott’s The Blade of Arozone playfully fuses genres, bringing sword and sorcery epics together with dystopian science fantasy.
While the general population remain ignorant of the world that was, the Elder Race spend their time reflecting on the rise and fall of society. Gifted with elemental powers this group keep themselves isolated in their mountain retreats, not wanting to interact with those outside their hidden society. Mostly ancient, the one exception is Lydunah, a rare younger member of their number. Given to inquisitiveness and interaction with life below, Lydunah provokes the ire of her progenitor. But when the retreat is attacked by an antagonistic force she wields the blade of Arozone – an heirloom discovered in the Elder Race’s vaults – setting into motion events that will see Lydunah embarking on a crucial quest of her own…
This opening issues acts largely as prologue to what promises to be a larger epic (those following Scott on social media will be aware that he’s currently posting images from the second part on his feeds), establishing the premise and indulging in the requisite world-building. The Blade of Arozone is infused with allegorical social commentary with Scott’s use of language and lettering adding to this world’s distinctive identity. With just 13 pages of story to play with and much to introduce, Lydunah remains more story device than character at this point but further instalments will no doubt flesh her out further.
It’s Scott’s intricate pages with their multiple panels and heavily detailed environments that will perhaps be the biggest draw at this juncture. His angular characters, often depicted with a caricatured grotesqueness that fits the brutality of the setting, have a Kevin O’Neill vibe to them while the supplementary back matter’s map of the realm promises an intriguingly larger narrative game plan for the book. The second issue in the saga is launched in Spring 2019.
J. Edward Scott is a guest artist at the next Gosh! Comics and Broken Frontier Drink and Draw.
Review by Andy Oliver