Antar was born to a royal father and a slave mother. His skin and parentage still only guaranteed him a life as a slave himself. His mother was a runner who almost escaped this life herself, but she is bound to it now. He has one friend named Dorcas, with whom he is in love. However, destiny may have something else in mind for Antar than love and marriage.
Antar: The Black Knight #1 is something of an origin story for the character. We see his youth, his origins, and how his mother lived. While there is some great material in this comic and the potential is plenty, it’s hard to ignore how slow and confused the narrative can be.
A major hurdle in presenting an origin story is maintaining tension. Presenting something as already done diffuses tension with ease, which Antar unfortunately does. The story is presented as done, we are just seeing it for it is.
Plus, the propensity to jump around through time confuses matters. It’s hard to tell when we are in Antar’s life at times. It is not as difficult to follow as Crude, but it is a little perplexing at times. Plus, the art, while good, does little to differentiate characters.
All this aside, Antar is a good lead, and the potential is here for something great. The themes are more focused than the narrative, and the mythological origins of the character give the book a lot of material to mine and adapt.
Back to the art, Eric Battle’s work is distinctive and often quite beautiful. It is a unique style that focuses on the severe edges of a character’s body. It has a tendency towards bulginess — almost like a fisheye lens. There is also little to differentiate the faces, which is a problem. That said, the style along with Jason Scott Jones’s color work make for an overall visually appealing book.
Antar: The Black Knight #1 isn’t quite a bad book. There are engaging points, and the art is solid. The myth and character have potential for something special, and I will personally be keeping an eye on the series. If you’re into ancient fantasy stories and myth in general, this comic will likely give you something worthwhile.
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