I have received as a gift the first volume of Gabriel Rodriguez’ Sword of Ages, a big, colorful comic book that lasted me back to the years spent reading Heavy Metal or L’Eternauta, and later 2000AD: science fiction, action and adventure in surreal, exotic locales, beautifully drawn and engagingly narrated.
Sword of Ages does indeed recall the look & feel of Metàl Hurlant, and Rodriguez admits his visual debt with Moebius and his narrative debt with T.H. White’s Once And Future King, but also with Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion, and with Frank Herbert’s Dune.
Given the premises, Sword of Ages might have turned out in a derivative hodge-podge, but Rodriguez manages to mix the various ingredients in an engaging, intelligent way, and if this is a retelling of the Arthurian legend in a planetary romance venue with a certain Mad Max vibe, filled with alien species, wild barbarian clans and sabretooth tigers.
What’s not to love about this?
Also, the story follows a more modern and 21st century-style path compared to those old 1980s comics – and there’s a definite lack of bare-breasted women that lets us know this is not the Heavy Metal of our teenage years. But it’s all right like this.
A good story beautifully told, the first volume of Sword of Ages has been quite a nice way to spend a few hours.
Now of course I want more.