By Fred Van Lente, Juan Jose Ryp, Jordie Bellaire
“Anni are you okay? Are you okay, Anni?”
Legends of the Geomancer is a four-book retailer incentive miniseries that reveals the origin of the Geomancer mythos. Helmed by writer Fred Van Lente, this companion series to the Book of Death functions as a prequel, with Van Lente, Ryp, and Bellaire crafting a unique adventure with new characters, including the intriguing Anni. The outcome of this story will become the foundation for the current Valiant Universe.
At the close of the previous book, Anni had led her fellow travel companions to a mysterious tree which she felt was calling to her. She took a bite of its fruit, experienced some sort of seizure, and was drug underground by the roots of the tree. Meanwhile, a giant was awakened from the depths of the earth and prepared to attack her companions.
Legends #3 opens with an absolutely stunning splash page by artist Juan Jose Ryp and colorist Jordie Bellaire. The subject matter precisely and cleverly depicts what has befallen Anni.
The story at this juncture is electrifying. Books One and Two set the stage for the state of the world and Anni’s place in it. This book changes all of that as surely as Anni herself is being transformed. Much is revealed as to the relationship of the Earth with its inhabitants. Most illuminating is why Anni has been chosen as well as how she succeeded.
For the first time, the role of the Geomancer is clearly defined. This is a side of the responsibility that readers didn’t get to experience with the short-lived Geomancer Kay McHenry, but it does shed light on the choices of Buck McHenry. Readers of the 2013 Eternal Warrior series may recall that the “Fist and Steel of the Earth”, the Eternal Warrior, was often confused by the outcomes of the Geomancer Buck McHenry’s directives. It all becomes clear upon reading this book.
Van Lente and company have a few other surprises for readers, some of which upend expectations. It will be interesting to see the repercussions of the acts in this book on the characters.
As with previous issues, artist Juan Jose Ryp and colorist Jordie Bellaire bring the tale to life. While I’ve enjoyed their work on the earlier books, this one is by far my favorite. The creative team seems to be gelling, with the art at some points telling the story better than a narrative. Also notable is the change in the color palette to coincide with the transformation of Anni. The idea of rebirth and renewal is evident within the colors. The panel layout is used to best effect, with large overlays and splashes that emphasize plot points. Ryp continues to be excellent at character expressions, giving them a realistic feel. The characters’ facial emotions and expressions are chronologically tight as well, giving them an animated feel when readers quickly move their eyes from panel to panel.
Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer #3 is the strongest book thus far in the miniseries. The reveals regarding the Geomancer lore make this a must-have. The next issue will conclude the miniseries. If the teaser is any indication, readers will learn the outcome of this book’s act as well as the beginnings to the stories of several familiar faces.