Last issue of Sovereign was a bit… questionable. It was okay, but it read more like a preview for a few different stories rather than the real thing. Maybe the next issue is where things start shaping up and getting better. Let’s find out: Is it good?
Sovereign #2 (Image Comics)
Like the previous issue (and I’m guessing how the series will ultimately be), the comic is broken into three different stories. The first one is “Ghost Eaters,” going back to the trio of monks as they travel to the Court of the Horselords, meeting people along the way. The second story is “Shadow of the Unnamed,” the brief history of Janramir’s family line and how the rulers of the past have left their mark on the kingdom. The final story, “Land of a Thousand Gods,” returns us to the voyagers from the last issue as they finally reach landfall and continue towards their destination, the capital of Khend.
As with the previous issue, let’s break down and discuss each individual story:
“Ghost Eaters” still has the same problem that the last story about the monks had: namely, it feels underdeveloped and not fully explored, along with the story starting in the middle of things. Admittedly, I do like that the story looks like it’ll be crossing over with the Horselord story soon since that’s their destination and that we are getting some background on how people feel about them and their job, but that is not enough. We have no characterization for these characters and no reason to care about them. The story has no beginning or ending to it, with nothing feeling like it was accomplished. It also feels slightly decompressed. Also, worst of all, there is no follow up on what happened last issue when they were attacked by zombies. Seriously? The most interesting part of the story from last time and it’s just being swept under the rug?
I wonder how he heard that considering how far away from him they are.
“Shadow of the Unnamed” continues with the Janramir’s story, though this time around it’s the weakest of the bunch. Most of the story details the history of his family’s ruling line and the effects this had on the people. While it certainly is interesting for backstory, it is rather boring, decompressed, and ultimately feels like padding. Did we really even need to know the family history to begin with? The only part that even has Janramir, who was at least a well-characterized individual, is the final two or three pages with him just yelling and fighting with one of his brothers. There’s really nothing else to this at all, making this feel like a rather waste of time honestly.
“Land of A Thousand Gods” was also weaker than the previous issue’s story. It’s the most direct continuation of the last issue, but the story itself still feels like it hasn’t really gotten started. The characters are just continuing on their destination and we get some brief background for Khend. Like “Ghost Eaters,” I do enjoy how the stories are starting to have some sort of connection (Khend being what Janramir’s family has ruled over), but that’s not enough. The characters here are not developed well and the character we do follow here is not very likeable or enjoyable to read about. The story is still slow moving and feels uneventful as well. Honestly, with the fact that comic is only coming out once month, this style of storytelling and slow pace is more of a hindrance and does not make for an enjoyable and engaging experience.
With the artwork, I complimented the comic for having each story feature a different feel and style, if only just a small amount. This issue does not have that at all unfortunately and honestly, that took the only thing I really enjoyed about the artwork. The characters are lumpy-bodied and feature strange musculature. The layouts are fine, but boring and not memorable. The coloring is questionable in areas (sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t), leading to odd moments where for instance, the water in the palace gardens is colored green, making it look more like regular ground then a makeshift river. There’s nothing inventive or eye-catching, leading to a rather bland and forgettable looking fantasy world. It’s just not working here with the art for me.
Is It Good?
Sovereign #2 is a bit weaker than the first; the the main problem with the series already rears its head — with three stories going on, where the stories are rather slow and uneventful while also lacking with characterization and sometimes context — the comic itself is just not engaging as it could be. This is the type of story that does not work at all on a monthly basis. If you must read it, just wait for a trade collection.