By Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, and Allen Passalaqua.
The Occultist follows Rob Bailey as he attempts to balance his new responsibilities of being bound to an ancient book of spells known as The Sword with his regular life as a college student. Rob works to become the Occultist and must defend the world from creatures and monsters that want to invade the world of the living and kill him in order to take The Sword.
For a first issue The Occultist doesn’t wait to send you straight into the action. When we first see Rob he is investigating a series of killings that lead to an abandoned orphanage and an encounter with undead, flesh-eating babies. Mike Richardson and Tim Seeley are not keeping us waiting with an origin story. The book isn’t weighed down in exposition and information to establish who the character is. Most of the character work happens in the dialogue between Rob and his friends and mentor. Seeley does some good work in keeping you interested in moving along with the story without making it seem that you are bogged down with an incredible amount of information.
Mike Norton does a good job in creating the world of The Occultist. The art is dark and gritty, emphasizing the world of monsters and undead that we see Rob enter right at the beginning of the book. The subdued colors and shading of the book play into the tone nicely, making the book feel tied to reality more than the fantastical. When Rob is casting spells, however, the magic pops off the page with bright, iridescent light. The contrast of the magic coloring against the drab colors of the book makes those scenes feel more ethereal.
Since this is just the beginning of the series it will be interesting to see where the book goes from here. There was plenty of set up for some exciting stories and it will be nice to see where the comic goes from here.