“Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight #1” shows some promise, but still has notable flaws to work out.
Story and writing
After coming down with a bug at a convention, Faith is bed ridden and bored. To help, her boyfriend Obie decides to tell her the story of King Arthur’s knight Gawain and his adventures, with the twist that it will be told like “The Princess Bride.” His tale begins during a feast between the members of the round table, where a ghostly green knight appears and challenges them to strike him. The only catch is he will return the strike in equal measure. Unfazed, Gawain beheads the green knight, only to watch as the he rises and warns of his coming counter strike. Gawain’s only choice is to gather a party of allies and search for a way to escape his fate, fighting his way through monsters, magic and other staples of medieval stories.
The story, written by Fred Van Lente, certainly acts as a great love letter to medieval stories while also poking fun at the genre where it can. Pious monks are actually lecherous loudmouths, wizards are tech obsessed nerds and solutions literally pop up out of no where. Both Obie and Faith mix in their own elements to spice up the story, from wizards using futuristic weapons to potions offering blessings courtesy of D&D.
They’re cool ideas and definitely serve to establish a parody-esque tone, but the humor doesn’t always land well or pull itself apart from the fantasy elements. It can also be confusing whether its Faith or Obie adding to the story. Apart from some rare cut aways to show which of them is talking, the story largely runs its course without revealing when control of the story switches over.
The cast has its share of highs and lows as well. Gawain makes for a standard do-gooder hero with a wit, and his party’s mage Ivar and the foul mouthed monk Aram both have good fourth wall breaking humor throughout. Past them though, the other characters feel flat. Even the Green Knight becomes more of a plot device by the end, which is unfortunate considering his great setup early on.
Obie and Faith are each fleshed out well enough, though large amounts of their characterization seemed shoved into the final few pages. Hopefully the traits that are hinted at will be explained more in coming issues, but for now it feels like their introduction was rushed.
Art and Style
The artwork in the comic is very well done with some nice variance between frames with Faith and Obie versus ones telling Gawain and his party’s tale. Faith and Obie’s world is sharp, crisp and detailed, with brighter tones and accents from the colors of the books lining Faith’s room to Obie’s bright blonde hair.
In Gawain’s tale, the art is more rounded with more earthy tones like greens, browns and blues. It feels much more like a call back to older art styles that meshes well with the homage style of many parts of the story. Of course, when the fourth wall comes down, there are flashes of the more modern style and colors, making for a nice pull back and set up for the humor.
This coloring, done by Brian Reber, lends wonderfully to the artwork of Cary Nord and Clayton Henry, as well as the inking by Mark Morales. It’s definitely a draw to be able to see this style of work in future issues.
Even with its flaws, “Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight” shows potential for what could be a fun and interesting series. Hopefully it will get the chance to realize its potential in future issues.
Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight #1
Release date: April 12th
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Written by: Fred van Lente
Illustrated by: Cary Nord with Clayton Henry