Void Rivals #1 - A Review (Part One, No Spoilers)
We review the new comic from Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici, carefully avoiding spoiler talk.
It's hard to keep a secret. When Void Rivals was first announced, Skybound Entertainment and creators Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici alerted their fans that this title would bring something extra; they were working on their next shared universe. Now, if you go looking, and we would encourage you not to do so, you can figure out what that "something extra" is, and yeah, it has us hyped for sure, but dammit, we would have loved to have experienced that surprise on Wednesday, June 14th. You, my friend, reading this post, if you want to maintain that surprise, start muting words on your socials.
We've read the first issue. Or, at least, part of the first issue. Skybound redacted several pages from the review copy, and we salute their efforts. Based on what we were allowed to read, we can still fully endorse Void Rivals. We'll give zero spoilers here, just our initial impressions of what Kirkman and De Felici are cooking up. You can expect a sequel to this review on Wednesday after the issue hits the stands.
The initial set-up recalls one of my favorite 80s science fiction movies Enemy Mine, which in itself was a riff on the great Lee Marvin/Toshirō Mifune WWII flick Hell in the Pacific, which was inspired by None But the Brave, which The Forty-First inspired. And like all those flicks, Void Rivals wickedly excavates drama by abandoning two opponents upon one isolated location. They can end it all here and now, or they can collaborate and find a way off this rock.
Pilot Darak barely brings his spacecraft to a safe landing on a seemingly deserted alien world. With the aid of his Handroid, Darak begins repairs on his vessel. The work has barely started when an enemy Zertonian fires a projectile inches from his head. The two enemies then collide against each other, throwing fists, knees, feet, and whatever available body part. Eventually, one gets the upper hand but chooses life over death. The Handroid thinks the selfless act will only result in Darak's ruination.
Clearly, Kirkman is holding a lot close to his vest. Void Rivals swims with information, and most is impossible to grasp. What's obvious is the comic's vast universe. We're jumping into this story midstream, and it's on us to catch up. The dialogue between Darak and the Handroid bites. Their relationship is not exactly contentious, but they're not buddies either. Hard to pick a fight with a being attached to your body, but decisions will inevitably be required. The Zertonian is much easier to brutalize, but is that the wisest choice given their situation?
Lorenzo De Felici continues to be dynamite. When those limbs are flying, the sequential action is stellar. I raced through those beats (and beatings), immediately hit pause, and went back through them. His brawls are just fun to live in.
Considering the robotic and simplistic character designs, De Felici layers their features with easily communicable expressions. The acting is as loud as the location scouting. The planet is desolate, almost basic, but gorgeous. What Matheus Lopes' colors did for Supergirl: Women of Tomorrow, they do here, elevating De De Felici's art to masterstroke comics storytelling.
Undoubtedly, whatever happens in Void Rivals' redacted pages has our interest piqued. We're ready for revelation, but as is, the comic is exceptional. As they proved every month on Oblivion Song, Kirkman and De Felici are an unbeatable creative pair. There is so much happening in the narrative's background. We can sense an ancient history stretching into a cataclysmic present. The notion that this apocalyptic war could swing depending on how these two adversaries interact with each other is a classic dramatic grab.
Quickie Review: We're in Kirkman and De Felici's grip. There's no other place we'd rather be. How will we feel when we get more? Not sure, but return to this space on Wednesday for part two of our Void Rivals #1 review. If we were placing bets, we'd put it all on Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici.
Void Rivals #1
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Lorenzo De Felici
Colorist: Matheus Lopes
Letterer: Rus Wooten
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale: 6/14/23
Synopsis: The blockbuster OBLIVION SONG team of ROBERT KIRKMAN & LORENZO DE FELICI debut the biggest new comic book series of 2023 with the launch of AN ALL-NEW SHARED UNIVERSE and a SURPRISE you won't see coming!
War rages around the Sacred Ring where the last remnants of two worlds have collapsed around a black hole in a never-ending war.
However when pilot Darak and his rival Solila both crash on a desolate planet these two enemies must find a way to escape together. But are they alone on this strange planet? And what dark forces await that threaten the entire universe?