"Kingdom of Blood" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written and Illustrated by Robert Geronimo
2017, 64 Pages
Enter a terrifying world of fantasy and darkness. Here a kingdom of Voragoth has crumbled and the human race cowers under the hooves of the powerful Saytrians, led by the fierce General Gorn. Humanity's last hope rests in a far-off tower where a heart of dark magic is kept hidden. If Gorn and his army get their hands on it, it will mean total doom for this world. Three Sisters of Silence march to the tower in an effort to retrieve it before Gorn can get it.
On the surface, Kingdom of Blood sounds like an epic, supernatural version of Game of Thrones. It wouldn't be far off either. It has all the makings of a sprawling tome. It's impressive how quickly creator Robert Geronimo establishes this world. The bulk of the book is told in narration from a character named Meek. This is a risky tactic as it could come across as exposition-heavy, like a history lesson. That is not the case here, as Geronimo keeps your interest piqued with an exciting narrative. It instantly pulls you in.
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Kingdom of Blood feels like an ancient tome, telling a secret history of a long forgotten land. Most of the illustrations are full-page spreads, showcasing Geronimo's artwork in all its glory. Every image is presented in stark black-and-white. No other color is featured. This reinforces that tome-like feel.
Geronimo uses shadow and, more importantly, silhouette very effectively throughout the book. Images of the Sisters of Silence floating through the air as a glimmer of white in a sea of darkness can be rather haunting. Less is more in these instances. By giving them a simpler form, your mind fills in the gaps as to what's going on under those long cloaks, especially when they display such horrifying abilities.
This isn't to say that Kingdom of Blood lacks detail. There are some incredibly detailed panels, such as the fight with a dragon. This creature is massive and you can practically feel its rough skin. It's made up of so many intricate and fine lines. I can't imagine how long it took to draw something like that. It's damn impressive.
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Kingdom of Blood builds to a monumental climax. There's a battle between good and evil with the fate of humanity at stake. The odds don't look good either. When you see the hordes of Gorn's army marching towards this tower, you can imagine all hope evaporating. How can anyone possibly stop such a force?
I'm not usually into the dark fantasy genre. It's just something that hasn't caught my eye too much. Kingdom of Blood may change that because if this is what I can expect from the genre, I really need to check more of it out. It's beautifully illustrated with an epic story that grips you from page one. It's got monsters, magic, and a friggin' dragon. What more do you need?