Broadcast Comics already impressed with the opening issue of their Diamond title so I was always going to keep an eye out for what they released next – cue Occulus.
It tells the story of Esme Eldritch, one of the greatest sorceresses in England and the titular Occulus, as she is visited by a man on the run by what appears to be a demon dog. The battle goes down with as many spells & incantations she can fire from memory but this makes her initial swagger begin to fade ever so slightly as there’s an air of guesswork about her approach.
That becomes even more of a reality as her latest illusion fades around them both to reveal the real Esme and there’s a ton of explaining to do before they can figure out just what is happening. The origin of her power is discussed as she opens up to her new “friend” and just when you think you know where this is going to go it pulls the rug from under you with a slick double-cross that leads to an even bigger spell battle once Esme’s powers have recharged a bit.
Co-writers Matt Hardy & Kieren Stevens make a formidable team as they piece together a new world to explore and with a seemingly innocent central character that’s stumbled upon magic at it’s core there’s an honesty about her attempts to do good with her newly discovered powers. The high paced opening is a great way to get us hooked and with the detailed world behind Esme/Occulus that unravels before us, it’s clear that there are some big plans for where this might go. The art from Guillermo Villareal matches the scale of those plans and the energy that’s injected into the magic itself there’s a definite polished look to this opener that screams “mainstream” That team is rounded off by Rob Jones on lettering who has a lot to do with the narrated origin story and the resulting dialogue but he manages to keep things moving exceptionally well.
It’s another slick opener from Broadcast Comics and the fact that it exists in the same universe as their previous release only helps show how big the plans are for their releases. It’s hard not to invoke comparisons with existing characters when heading down that superhero road but the whole team has managed to make this feel fresh and exciting with more than enough potential to leave you hoping for more from them as soon as possible.