Thursday, December 11, 2014

Revisiting Battle Chasers

I stumbled across my trade paperback copy of a popular comic book from the late 1990s.

In fact, I'd say it was tremendously popular for a while. But as the saying goes, "the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long."

The comic book is called Battle Chasers. It was the baby of artist Joe Madureira and is a fantasy story set in an arcane land, making it somewhat of a departure in comics even to this day. Here are the principal characters:

Gully- a little girl, the daughter of an epic hero named Aramus, a man who is either missing or dead. The young girl inherited her father's magic gauntlets. When worn, the gloves give her superhuman strength.

Knolan-an old wizard and master of the magic arts. He's got a rather punky attitude and hides a shadowy past.

Garrison-a warrior and the most legendary swordsman of the land. Due to his own traumatic past, he has sworn never to pick up his blade again.

Monika-a thief, pure and simple. She looks rather like Red Sonja and has a blood lust to match.

I know what you might be thinking. Thief, wizard, warrior, and a kid carrying the mystical weapon that once belonged to her father. It's either a Dungeons & Dragons adventurers party or a Joseph Campbell hero cycle. Perhaps both. Just wait. There's an interesting twist...

Calibretto-he is a "war golem;" a giant machine built for battle and powered by I'm not sure what (steam?) While not exactly a living thing, he holds tremendous compassion and is especially protective of Gully.

Like I said, it was a departure for the milieu of the time as there weren't really any fantasy comics being printed by the big publishers. There might have been a Dungeons & Dragons book from DC or somebody, but it didn't really make much of a splash. Battle Chasers had fun, sumptuous art and an entertaining, while not especially original, story. Unfortunately, it was also nefarious for having a late publication history and ultimately the series just...ended. Permanent hiatus. On a cliffhanger, no less.

I mean it's not like you don't get a mostly satisfactory end of the story arc, but the final page alludes to more. Much more. Therefore, many fans felt (and still feel) rather cheated. Due to Joe Madureira's multitude of other ongoing projects, he has pretty much stated that Battle Chasers will remain unfinished.

Prithee, messer Madureira, reconsider?

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