Featuring picturesque artwork by Carlos Rafael and an epic story by JT Krul (Fathom), Highlander: Way of the Sword #1 is on sale now from Dynamite Entertainment. For more insight into this tale that spans the entire Highlander mythos, Krul stopped by CBR News to give fans a page-by-page commentary on issue #1. When you're done checking out this enlightening commentary, don't forget to visit CBR's Indie Comics forum to discuss Highlander: Way of the Sword with fellow readers.
By JT Krul
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the world of Highlander is the ability to showcase Connor and the other immortals throughout history. In many ways, they are the perfect narrators because they have achieved a level of insight and wisdom (well, maybe not those like Kurgan) unavailable to us mere mortals. When we decided to do the story of Connor's search for Ramirez's sword, the first problem I discovered was that he had to actually lose it. Apparently, my memory of the first film didn't include a frame-by-frame recall of Connor as he left Scotland (and his deceased wife Heather) behind. There, he has the ivory blade. You have to look close, but it's there. Frame 5,738 to be exact.
But with a concept like Highlander, it wasn't a problem; it was an opportunity.
I settled in on the Napoleonic Wars early on in developing this story and I just loved the idea of Kurgan and Connor doing battle on the high seas, culminating with Kurgan going down with the ship and the sword still sticking in his chest. Carlos Rafael did a great job on that initial image of Kurgan aboard the French vessel, especially having his blade skewering several men at once.
Inside joke here on page #6 -- the name of the bar. The Feisty Goat. A pint of ale to whoever can identify the movie it appears in (supplies are very limited and purchase is necessary to enter). And, how about trying it without cheating on Google?
When doing a story like this, one that spans so many places (not to mention timelines), it can be difficult to move the reader along, and calls for more than just an establishing shot and banner at the top of the page. The images have to convey that jump. That's why I really like the way these two pages play off each other. Carlos Lopez accomplished the switch with the colors. The London page is softer with more browns and grays and a golden hue in the backdrop; a later sun. In Paris, on the next page, he goes bright and vivid. Check out that Paris sky in the backdrop. Even Ian and Connor's shirts seem brighter as opposed to the previous page.
Perhaps my favorite three panels off the entire book. The simplicity and effectiveness here in showing Connor's sensing of another immortal. Much is made of this connection among the dueling warriors and here it shows. Rafael's imagery and Lopez's almost bleeding watercolors give a cool effect to offer Connor's take on his world. Like all immortals, he is an outsider in terms of the rest of the world, disjointed from everybody else. But, we can see here that Guerin and Connor are on the same wavelength -- literally.
Just look at Guerin here. Is there any doubt that he's French? Love that view of him on the bottom of the page. I mean, what died under his nose?
And what would a Highlander story be without a beautiful woman to remind Connor that as immortal as he is after all these years, he is still a man. Even though he insists to himself that he is closed off to such feelings, it is obvious that he is drawn to Elizabeth. In terms of Connor's maturity, he is definitely beyond the impulsive age, but he still doesn't quite know if he buys into the theory (learned from Ramirez) that alone is the way to go. Truth be told, I wonder if Ramirez believed it himself. It was probably just a matter of needing to get over the loss. The stronger the love, the longer it takes to get back into the game. Or, maybe Connor's just a big slut.
I felt bad about killing Ian so quickly. He didn't do anything, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. C'est La Vie.
I really wanted to end the issue with a nice big action piece and the battle with Guerin came together really well, from the rooftops to the carriage to the final tumble over the wall onto the holy ground, Rafael made sure each page brought the action to life. I especially like the coachman staring at the broken reins as the horses race off out of control over his shoulder.
I don't know about the rest of you, but Elizabeth looks hot on the last page. Must be something in the curves.
Well, that's about it for me this time around. I had a blast exploring the world of Highlander and since it is only issue #1, you know this is just the beginning!
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