After the Invasion release introduced Saltire to the comic book world under the “Scotland’s Superhero” banner……I was more inclined to think something different.
This release marks the first of a two-part story as the war between gods, monsters, dragons & demons kicks off across this release which acts as the first battle with a number of different parties involved. While our central character Saltire appears a bit further into the title, the build-up sees a fairly normal battle going on as the Angles & Saxons are pushed back behind the wall giving the Guardians of the Nation a chance to regroup and plan what their going to do next.
Things change though with the arrival of Ban Sith – the evil witch/demon/she-vampire that’s hell bent on taking out the Guardians and building her own evil army. Cue Saltire’s appearance in time to take on the hounds of hell under Ban Sith’s command and the face-off between them builds to a battle that sees some big casualties for our team fighting for good.
The blend of fantasy & magic in the mix reinforces that comparison with the likes of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and this first half of the Annihilation leaves things open for more battles to come…..and I can’t wait. While Ferguson’s writing has stepped up a notch the art duties have passed to Claire Roe and this is another significant change for the title. Her art gives the book more depth, more mystic weight behind it that adds a grander sense of scale which we really should see in tale of this type.
Far grittier than the first book the story John Ferguson is far more cohesive in this release as he enhances his storytelling skills and while some scenes come across a bit clunky & disjointed the improvement is evident. The stunning artwork raises this to another level and this combination left me comparing this to the likes of Northlanders by Brian Wood which has always been a title that I’ve returned to again and again…….much like what I’ll do with Annihilation.
Part 2 is due for release on the 11th April with an exclusive signing and early release at DeeCon on the 4th April.
Check out the DiamondSteel Comics website for this and more Saltire releases. You can also keep tabs on the up and coming release & appearances on their Facebook & Twitter.