"Captives #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Fright Comics
Written by Alexander Banchitta
Illustrated by Robert Ahmad and Vojislav Vasiljevic
2016, 26 Pages
A local legend tells of a horde of monsters lurking in the dungeons of a nearby castle. Any man who can defeat the creatures will win the hand of the beautiful princess. This was a time before the Internet, so the young men in the area had nothing else to do to entertain themselves but fight for their lives against these beasts.
Captives cements the idea of this legend right off the bat. The story is shared between two men and it's drawn by different artists. Vojislav Vasiljevic handles these flashback scenes detailing the princess' plight. His artwork is well detailed and has an old-school feel to it, especially since it's presented in black-and-white. I'd expect to see something like this in the pages of old issues of Creepy or Eerie. It perfectly captures the time period with an air of mysticism about it.
The remainder of the book is illustrated by Robert Ahmad, who has a similar old-school style, albeit one with a finer line. If Vasiljevic's artwork might appear in old anthology horror comics, Ahmad's would appear right next to it. Both get to draw monsters, although Vasiljevic's look a bit scarier, probably because he brings the main creature to life. It's this hideous being that was once a man, but has been mutated into this part ogre, part scorpion monster that looks so friggin' disturbing. You wouldn't even want to pass this thing on the street, let alone fight it to the death.
While the artwork is solid, Captives' story leaves something to be desired. It quickly outlines the story of the castle, which gives the characters the maguffin they need to continue, but then spends way too much time showing the various men preparing to fight for the princess' hand. They're arguing like schoolchildren over who loves her more. This is all BS, as none of them have even seen the woman, only heard tales of her beauty. Since this is back in medieval times, it's assumed that she would be willing to marry any man strong enough to defeat the horde of monsters in her basement.
These arguments get increasingly irritating as more and more guys jump in to fight about who's stronger. At the end of the day, most of them are going to be eaten by trolls and assorted beasts, so it won't matter who's stronger. As it stands, this issue ends right when things start to get exciting. It's less of a cliffhanger and more like something that should have happened ten pages prior. If the needless dick-swinging was cut down, it could have had a much more intense fight with the monsters and perhaps some more character development with the two main fighters.
Captives has the look and feel of a classic fantasy comic. Unfortunately, it takes too long to get going. If this was a movie, I would have been checking my watch a few times. The artwork alone is worth the price of admission to soak in the awesome monster-on-man battle royale. As this is the first issue, hopefully the story tightens up a bit in subsequent chapters.