PopCultHQ received a review copy of IMMORTAL BROTHERS: THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT #1 from Valiant Entertainment. Hitting retailers this coming New Comic Book Day, April 12th, the creative team for this issue features writing from Fred Van Lente, interior art by Cary Nord and Clayton Henry, inks by Mark Morales, and colors from Brian Reber.
The Tale Of The Green Knight #1
Cover Price: $4.99
Archer and Armstrong! The Eternal Warrior! Ivar, Timewalker!
(And a very brief appearance by Faith!)
In the great Armstrong tradition of telling history as it really happened, join the immortal Anni-Padda brothers for a journey to King Arthur’s court, where the true history of the monstrous GREEN KNIGHT is revealed! It’s winter at King Arthur’s court in Camelot, when the monstrous GREEN KNIGHT appears at the Round Table wearing no armor and bearing a gigantic axe. Eager for a challenge suitable for the weaker knights, he insists that they participate in a friendly ‘winter’s game’. Anyone can strike him once with his axe, but on the condition that the Green Knight may return the exact blow in one year’s time. Arthur agrees to the game, but the youthful knight, GILAD, takes up the challenge to protect his king. Much to the court’s surprise, the Knight doesn’t move as Gilad strikes his head off. The Green Knight picks up his own head and gives Gilad his own mighty axe, telling him he is fated to receive the same blow before the year is out. Now, Sir Gilad must solve the mystery of who the Green Knight is before his hour at the axe comes to pass! But first, he’ll need to find some help… in the form of his immortal brothers, who will be united once again!
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
IMMORTAL BROTHERS: THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT #1
Our tale, as read by Obadiah Archer to his bedridden sweetheart Faith, takes us back to Knights of the Round Table during King Arthur’s rule. A mysterious green knight interrupts the gathering and issues a friendly challenge in what he refers to as a “winter’s game.” It’s in this “game” that this malachite man-at-arms gives any individual the opportunity to take a strike at him with his own masterwork axe. The catch? The Knight shall return the favor within one year’s time with an identical blow to the head. Just as Arthur accepts the challenge, enter the noble
Katniss Everdeen Gilad Anni-Padda, our very own Eternal Warrior as Gawain, volunteering as tribute. Upon striking down the Knight, the beheaded figure reminds this brave soul of their pact and then rides off never to be seen until found. The journey begins to seek out the Green Knight and honor Gilad’s promise to allow himself to be at the mercy of the issue challenger.
All through this issue we have moments interspersed where we get to be reminded of the fun relationship the brothers have with one another. I really enjoyed the way Archer (who inserted himself into the tale) and Armstrong interacted with one another; the buddy team-up we’ve all come to know and love integrated with some 6th century flair. The way in which the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight is delivered and portrayed in this one-shot is rather endearing. We get some sweet moments between Obie and his girlfriend as she lay sick in bed. The innocence of Archer is always a likable trait to see, in my opinion, and it is quite appropriate for this story. Indeed.
Writer Fred Van Lente has never looked better than in IMMORTAL BROTHERS: THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT. From the heartwarming moments in the present-day with Obadiah and Faith, to the adventurous quest of our heroes, along with the camaraderie of the brothers Anni-Padda, Van Lente delivers an all-around entertaining story. It’s quite enjoyable seeing the writer depicting Gilad, Ivar, and Armstrong in medieval times, while at the same time keeping that fun and often comical dynamic between the immortal brothers. I was also impressed throughout the issue on Fred’s usage of the archaic dialect of yore. Very fitting and added a great deal to the atmosphere of the time.
Cary Nord is the lead artist in this one-shot covering “The Tale” itself, while artist Clayton Henry handles the present-day scenes with Faith and Archer. Nord captures the period piece exceptionally. From the look of the characters of the time, their attire and appearance, to the landscape depicted, you can’t help but feel as if you’re in true Arthurian times. Cary also does a fantastic job of making the leads very noble and stoic, which contributes nicely with Van Lente’s narrative.
Clayton Henry brings his, dare I say, iconic look to Obadiah Archer and Faith Herbert in the three segments in which they’re present. That realistic likeness that he’s always drawn to perfection. Personally, I’ve always felt a comfort when seeing Henry’s name attached to a project because I’m familiar with the incredible work he’s done with Valiant and I am always happy with the visuals. In this issue, accompanied by Reber’s colors, Clayton brings a pleasant ambiance and welcoming illustrations known to inadvertently bring me to smile as I read along.
The inking in IMMORTAL BROTHERS: THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT are very strong in the main story and compliment the tone of the period. Mark Morales brings the heavier, striking inks in panels which require more prominence from the characters and for much of the Arthurian tale. His work contributes to the cold, dark feel of Van Lente’s story quite admirably. When we visit, or re-visit, Archer at Faith’s bedside Morales pulls back a bit, allowing Henry’s illustrations and Reber’s colors to bring back the lighter mood of the present. Solid work throughout.
I have always liked whenever Valiant has brought on two different artists to pencil an issue and allowing one colorist (in this case Brian Reber) the opportunity to show his range and how well he capture the spirit or emotion of each. Reber proves again (I believe I stated something similar in an issue of Savage he did some months back) that he’s not only up for the challenge, he nails it every time. Whether it’s the lighter pastels adding vibrancy to the scenes, or the darker shades of secondary colors to add some coldness to certain panels, he is not only a smart choice for this one-shot but an asset for Valiant and titles in which he is featured. Exceptional work!
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
The Anni-Padda brothers are back again (not) for the first time! If there’s ever an occasion where we get to see Valiant’s immortal siblings unite, go on an adventure, or share what really occurred throughout history and their involvement, you can practically guarantee that it will be an entertaining read. This particular issue brings together five creators who have spanned across numerous Valiant Entertainment titles and does so remarkably well. A strong, fun story with Valiant Universe characters a part of the legendary Pendragon period, and an artistic team-up always known for bringing their A-game.
I suppose the only issue I had with this one-shot is not really something I can knock the publisher on, rather it’s my own hang-up. With all the titles launched by Valiant in recent months, and plans announced for upcoming features and events, I suppose I kinda got spoiled and wished everything released would have an impact on the Valiant Universe as a whole. That amd the fact that I was slightly bummed that A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER & ARMSTRONG had its series ended, I was beyond elated knowing the buddy duo was returning, even if only for this one-shot. But I know they’ll be back. But for me personally, it can’t happen soon enough! (Or even D&G: THE ADVENTURES OF DAVEY THE MACKEREL & GUB GUB) 😉
One of most notable features of IMMORTAL BROTHERS: THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT, one in which I truly admired, was seeing these famous Valiant characters portrayed as they are in this issue. Honorable, noble, daring, and steadfast, the immortal Anni-Padda brothers have never looked more valiant (see what I did there?). Come this New Comic Book Day, Valiant’s only new release is a great choice to pick up. You’ll receive a very gratifying read with exceptional value from cover to cover.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
IMMORTAL BROTHERS: THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT #1
can be pre-ordered now on ComiXology
or at your LCS and various online retailers on NCBD, April 12th!
Be sure to follow the creative team!