Do dedicated readers need this release? Read on to find out.
The official description from Dynamite:
Years before the rise of the Blood Queen, the king’s father fought a great battle to protect the witches and the Daughters of the Line. When another kingdom makes a bid to exterminate the witch class, King Tibor stands against this monstrous cruelty. His defiance leads to open war, setting the stage for events that are unfolding monthly in the pages of THE BLOOD QUEEN. Watch as the lines are drawn, as magic and steel chose sides, and as the destinies of kingdoms are decided! But then, what about Elizabeth and The Elder? How did the woman that will become the Blood Queen come into the Elder’s keeping? Witness the pivotal events that began Elizabeth’s mission and set her on a dark road. It’s all here in GHOSTS OF WAR, THE BLOOD QUEEN ANNUAL.
If you’re a fanboy or fangirl that find themselves enamored with fantasy yarns then there’s no doubt in my mind that this franchise is right up your alley. And as we reach this release I’ll admit that most of my initial trepidation toward annuals fell by the wayside, as the creative team did a marvelous job expanding the established lore.
In “Ghosts of War” we see King Tibor face down the good and bad of witches plus a battle ready kingdom. Troy Brownfield cements elements that have been touched on in the monthly series, while fully displaying the terror of Blood Magic in a tale that’s bound to catch attention. Especially when a lavished display ebbs and flows with the right intent as consistent pencil strokes, courtesy of Fritz Casas and Carlos Reno, combine with colors by Kirsty Swan to craft something that feels wholly special and important to the larger arc at play.
The first piece of literature did a sound job expanding the basics of the now familiar plot, but “Knight of Purity” gave the first real taste of our Blood Queen‘s primary antagonist and oh it was so good. With dialogue and pace established by Dan Wickline the fierce entry allowed brutality and terror. The art by Noah Salonga complimented the journey but a few illustrations came off robotic, even as the colors by Valentina Pinto did more than enough to soften these rather minor hiccups.
The Blood Queen Annual 2014 gave out a lot of material that honestly would not fit within the currently running title but needed to be revealed to its audience nonetheless. From that aspect I actually walked away from these extra jaunts with more understanding for the witches. their schemes and the players involved. In that context this outing earns a recommendation.