By Ray Fawkes, Johnny Desjardins, Mohan, Kyle Higgins, Jorge Fornes, Chis O’Halloran, Chuck Wendig, Alvaro Sarraseca, Triona Farrell, Aubrey Sitterson, Dylan Burnett, and Taylor Esposito.
The Sovereigns #0 is a new event from Dynamite bringing all of the classic heroes from the Gold Key imprint from the 60s together in what writer Ray Fawkes describes as the “last team up of the Gold Key Legends.” The main story that serves as the entry point into this new universe, which is priced at just $1.00, is a short 18 pages, but does give a taste of what is to come. To bring the book to a total of 48 pages, there are also back-up stories featuring Magnus, Turok,and Doctor Spektor, as well as an in-depth interview with the writers.
The book reboots some classic but relatively unknown characters for a modern audience. It introduces readers to only a couple of the main characters, yet focuses heavily on Turok – which is understandable since he is probably the most recognizable of the bunch. Magnus, Solar, and Spektor are introduced in name only in the main story with the focus being mainly on a looming threat that appears to be affecting multiple timelines. We do get a hint in the last panel by the engraving on the keys that The Sovereigns are the “key” (pun intended).
The artwork in the book is beautifully executed, and especially enjoyable is the depth given to Turok by Desjardin’s illustrations. The battles and adventures that he has seen in his lifetime are all written on his weathered body with the use of cross hatched shading found on the King only and no one else in the book. The dinosaurs rugged skin is depicted in a real raw style with lots of great line work that gives them a sense ferocity that just about leaps off the page. In the backgrounds of Turok’s lands there’s some really intricate detail work in the trees and etchings in the stone temple. The draining or ending of all things that is happening to the world is conveyed quite well by Mohan’s use of muted blues and grays throughout the story. A nice respite is found, though, in the lovely warmth of the life-giving energy that Solar is apparently providing the world.
The writing in the captions is just beautiful. There is an epic elegance to the narrative voice that sets the tone for the series. Whatever is going on in this world is all-encompassing and dire. The main characters are all written in a way that shows just how important they are to the world around them: they aren’t just super heroes, but gods. However, there is one page that feels out of place or as if it just isn’t needed. The scene follows a couple of inhabitants of Turok’s lands as they arrive to join in the anniversary of his coronation. This entire page could have been reduced to one caption box or even left out completely as it does not add anything to the story.
The short back-stories that close out the book demonstrate the style that each of the character’s solo outings will feature. If you are familiar with the original characters, you will find some big changes made to their history, jobs, and in one case, gender, while still keeping to the basic idea of the Gold Key originals.
Overall the book is good, though short, and it shows potential for a great reboot for each of the individual heroes. As far as “The Sovereigns” storyline goes, it is too early to tell. It seems to have potential, but there just wasn’t enough in the 18 pages to get a sense of how things will go. This introduction is only $1.00, so you won’t be out much if you don’t like it, but the artwork and writing are definitely worth more than the cover price.