Green Valley #1
By Max Landis, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Green Valley, an all-new, thrilling period-piece from Image / Skybound, debuted this week and introduced us to the legendary Knights of Kelodia. Obvious after just the first issue, Green Valley is a glorious story and worthy of your pull list. Issue #1 does its job to introduce us to the characters and their world, as well as establishing a dilemma that you may or may not have seen coming. Building to a turning point, we seem to be in store for a good deal more action and drama as extreme circumstances challenge the Knights’ mettle. But its a comic full of witty, colorful dialogue and sword fighting too, so no matter the tone or direction the story seems to be headed in, there’s no shortage of good solid genre stuff to keep readers entertained.
Nothing proves that comic books are a medium where all genres are fair game quite as well as Green Valley does. Comic book fans are open to multiple genres and settings as it is. We love it all despite what may be trending at the time. Regular readers appreciate variety in storytelling and diversity in content. However – and thankfully this is the case with Green Valley – a book still needs to be done well, especially a new series. Enter creator Max Landis.
Known writer of comics and movies, Landis delivers a great story told in a time of knights, castles, and kingdoms. The book has an aesthetic charm bordering on insanely beautiful, and art combined with story is enough to predict this comic is going to get its share of praise. Landis is known for writing movies like Chronicle (2012), American Ultra (2015), and Victor Frankenstein (2015) to name a few, but he’s no stranger to comics. He wrote the seven issue series Superman: American Alien and he’s been nominated for an Eisner Award. Landis has always got something in the works, and comic readers are fortunate that he wants to make books parallel to his success as a Hollywood screenwriter. The dialogue he writes between characters is genuinely authentic, but, no matter the time period, their words and speech patterns remain accessible to readers. You get to know the main players, some of their backstory and how they relate to each other as a team of highly skilled defenders of their realm, without any of it being wordy or over your head. Landis manages to provide just the right amount of personality and character development for us to anticipate the reaction when circumstances aren’t in their favor. That element of the story is part of the excitement and will surely fuel future issues and further enhance the theme of actions vs. consequences.
Penciler Giuseppe Camuncoli (Amazing Spider-Man) and inker Cliff Rathburn (The Walking Dead) are on the same wavelength here. Their work is nothing short of professional and they complement one another perfectly. Add colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Invincible) to the mix and you’ve got a winning team all the way around. Quiet moments are as impressive as the violent ones. Green fields under a blue sky, the moon reflecting in a lake, or a fire set with malicious intent – between these three artists the book is more than complete, with considered illustrations that’ll have you reading and rereading Green Valley. Camuncoli’s style feels cinematic which is in line with Landis’ pacing. His design sensibilities have created a genuine setting with unique characters that feel familiar already. Rathburn refines and adds a layer of depth with crisp, meaningful inks. Meanwhile Beaulieu fully renders their efforts through painterly effects and dynamic lighting. Each does their part to contribute to the storytelling that Landis has developed, but, more than that, they’ve created something together that’s truly special.
Issue #1 is a sensational effort and the next one can’t arrive soon enough. Whether you’re looking for more of this genre or you need a change from superheroes and horror comics, check out this book out, you won’t be disappointed. This is gonna be a good one, folks, and bound to get even better. Don’t miss Green Valley!