cover image Valentine, Vol. 1: The Ice of Death

Valentine, Vol. 1: The Ice of Death

Alex de Campi and Christine Larsen. Image (Diamond, dist.), $24.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-60706-624-8

Valentine is a Hussar making the frozen and tortuous retreat out of Russia with Napoleon’s forces in 1812. While stumbling homeward through the snow and ice, he encounters a mysterious stranger who entrusts him with a mysterious sword. Soon, Valentine is being pursued by a band of sinister soldiers with glowing red eyes, who shoot and kill him. Valentine is revived soon after by a strange woman and wakes up in a hospital in France completely healed. This promising premise is soon revealed to be a typical magical good versus evil tale, with a man named Roland rescuing Valentine, and revealing the sword is the key to a portal between the human world and a magical one. The book makes for an entertaining adventure, one that indulges in werewolves and vampires, but keeps a steady and exciting pace. Valentine himself is not particularly memorable as a foolhardy soldier, but there are indications that he will grow into a more vivid character as the series continues. The art veers between serious action and a looser, less focused style, occasionally undermining the comic’s tone. Even with these moments of unsteadiness, this work shows promise. (Oct.)