Raye Knight:‭ ‬Spellbound‭ ‬#1‭

‏Raye Knight:‭ ‬Spellbound‭ ‬#1‭ ‬from Red King Press‭
‬Lou Manna‭ (‬Artist,‭ ‬Colorist,‭ ‬Illustrator‭) ‬Tori Pagac‭ (‬Author,‭ ‬Creator‭)‬,‭ ‬Victor Muyo‭ (‬Colorist‭)‬,‭ ‬Donald Thomas‭ (‬Contributor‭)‬,‭ ‬Jeremy M.‭ ‬Kahn‭ (‬Cover artist‭, ‬Illustrator‭)
‬Publisher:‭ ‬Red King Press‭

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‬Raye‭ ‬Knight:‭ ‬Spellbound‭ ‬#1‭ ‬is a comic book with much‭ ‬potential.‭ ‬It possesses a strong premise,‭ ‬a powerful female protagonist and some innovative panel layouts.‭

‬If I were to compare ‬Raye‭ ‬Knight:‭ ‬Spellbound‭ ‬#1‭ to a film,‭ ‬it would be an ambitious student film.‭ ‬It possesses vision but like a student film,‭ ‬has some issues relating to production quality and final polish.‭ ‬Many indie comics feel small‭ – ‬they simply rehash tired superhero conventions and themes.‭ ‬While many of this archetypal themes are present in Raye Knight,‭ ‬the approach is slightly different.‭

‬The comic opens with the goddess Airadina mourning the loss of her powers as belief in her wanes.‭ ‬This is a similar theme to that explored by Neil Gaiman in both his Sandman comics and novel American Gods and I was immediately intrigued.‭ ‬Airadina uses what’s left of her powers to presumably take on a new human incarnation.‭

‬This is the child Raye,‭ ‬the protagonist of the comic.‭ ‬What follows are fairly standard superhero tropes‭ – ‬Raye is discovered by a loving foster parent,‭ ‬ostracized by small minded villagers for being different,‭ ‬discovers her abilities and despite saving her home town,‭ ‬is cast out.‭ ‬What makes this unique is that it seems to be set in a distant time and ties more closely into traditional mythology then the world of the modern day superhero.‭

‬There is little emotional fallout for the events in the comic‭ – ‬we aren’t shown much of Raye’s reactions to what happens to her.‭ ‬Wei,‭ ‬Raye’s foster father,‭ ‬possesses greater depth and we are treated to his journey from former warrior-acolyte to tolerant priest in detail.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬the reader is seldom privy to Raye’s motivations.‭ ‬Whether this is an oversight of the writer or an attempt to preserve the character’s mystery is unclear.‭ ‬There is a danger that the character could de-evolve into a Mary Sue‭ – ‬she’s strong and smart,‭ ‬a superb warrior with magical powers and no real character flaws.‭ ‬Her challenges are solely external.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬the premise of the character‭ (‬a reincarnation or instrument of a faded goddess‭) ‬is intriguing enough that‭ ‬I’m willing to give the writer the benefit of the doubt and see how she develops in later issues.‭

‬The secondary characters are sketchy at best‭ – ‬we are exposed to their reasoning (‬they don’t wish to draw bad spirits to the island‭) ‬for ostracizing and ultimately casting out Raye but not the deeper emotional reasons behind this.‭

‬As a former graphic design lecturer,‭ ‬I have mixed feelings about the artwork.‭ ‬There is conviction and energy,‭ ‬and the fundamentals of anatomy,‭ ‬expression and background have been grasped.‭ ‬There are some errors with placement of the characters‭ ‬in the background and sometimes the figures lack weight‭ – ‬they seem to be floating rather then firmly interacting with their surroundings.‭ ‬But there is potential.‭ The credits seem to imply that there was more then one artist was involved  – I’m guessing that a veteran artist (namely Lou Manna) may have guided a less experienced artist on this project. This might be the reason for the occasionally uneven art quality.

The artist/s often do away with traditional panel layouts and some pages act as a metapanel.‭ ‬There’s a sense of flow that’s very effective,‭ ‬especially in the climatic fight between the sea serpent and Raye.‭ ‬In fact,‭ ‬the page layouts are one of the comic’s strongest points‭ – ‬they’re dynamic and exciting.‭ ‬Action scenes aren’t simply restrained to sequential panels.‭

‬The coloring is somewhat inconsistent,‭ ‬shifting between two tone and softly shaded.‭ ‬I wonder if the artwork wouldn’t have been more effective if it had been left in black and white.‭

‬Overall,‭ ‬this book has great potential but some parts read like the work of talented amateurs.‭ ‬I will follow its development and evolution with interest.‭

‏Raye Knight:‭ ‬Spellbound‭ ‬#1‭ ‬is available here http://www.amazon.com/Raye-Knight-Spellbound-part-1/dp/0991348710

LJ Phillips
About LJ Phillips (82 Articles)
LJ Phillips is an ex-bodyguard and professional artist who has had three solo exhibitions. He has also published numerous articles and pieces of short fiction. His interests include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, over-analyzing pop culture and staring into the abyss. Currently he lives in SA and spends his free time working on his various creator-owned comics.

2 Comments on Raye Knight:‭ ‬Spellbound‭ ‬#1‭

  1. Thank you for reading my book

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