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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Solomon Kane. The Castle of the Devil. Scott Allie (Writer), Mario Guevara (Art), Dave Stewart (Colours). Dark Horse Books. (2009)


Solomon Kane is a Puritan who believes in facing evil with a sword and a pistol, he is a grim and dour man who follows his duty to his god and his conscience without reserve. Lacking any superpowers or a wide emotional range he is a difficult character to portray well in a comic. The creative team on this book do a great job with Solomon Kane, they give him a credible context to act in and they make a tremendous dramatic virtue out of his implacable nature. They do this by surrounding him with a large and varied cast who provide the colour and emotional backdrop that makes Solomon Kane stand out by contrast.
Solomon Kane is introduced via an ambush on his camp by robbers, this quickly and effectively establishes Kane as a savage fighter, rescuing a child hanging from a gibbet shows his more merciful side. Kane encounters a fellow Englishman, John Silent and they end up going to the castle of Baron Von Staler, the man who had hung the boy. Kane intents to meet the Baron and deal harshly with an evil man if that is needed. The baron's castle is referred to by the locals as The Castle of the Devil. Kane and John Silent are greeted as welcome guests into the castle and the story proceeds to take a very satisfactory route to a enjoyable and thoughtful resolution.
The cast are given room to breathe and the various plot strands are cleverly revealed and then equally cleverly knotted together. Kane who is more of an elemental force than a human is contrasted well with the rest of the cast who are full of life and vigour, all pursuing their various agendas with energy and will. The art has a slightly scratchy look which serves the story very well as does the vibrant colouring. Low key, gripping, this is superbly executed and thoroughly entertaining comic.

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