Kull Eternal #1 – A King’s Gaze
Written by Tom Waltz
Art by Luca Pizzari
Colors by Trina Tree Farrell
Covers; Luca Pizzari, Alex Sanchez
Published by IDW
Tom Waltz and IDW’s newest take on King Kull has arrived, and I’m pretty sure we could have lived without it. Kull has long been a feature in comics since his first appearance in Marvel’s Creatures on the Loose #10. Originally penned by Robert E. Howard, King Kull made his appearance in “The Shadow Kingdom” in the August 1929 issue of Weird Tales. King Kull is the ruler of Valusia, an ancient empire of the Thurian Age that was eventually destroyed in the great cataclysm that birthed the Hyborian Age and the rise of Conan. Kull is often portrayed as more thoughtful and introspective than Conan, but they exist within the same vein – they are both men of action.
IDW’s new Kull Eternal opens on the snow plains of Antarctica. Here, King Kull and Brule the Spear Slayer are riding snow machines and battling Lizard Men. This is as they move forward toward an unknown goal accompanied by a group of hired soldiers. Then, within a scant few pages, we’re thrown thousands of years into the past to Valusia. Here, we encounter Kull suffering under the weight of the crown, a warrior without a war. Kull’s history is briefly retold and we see him as a pirate, a soldier and, eventually, a king now longing for days past.
Waltz’s writing in the first issue of Kull Eternal is acceptable and serves his story. For the most part, the dialogue is smart, flows nicely, and sounds natural. The basic story is what I’m having an issue with. Waltz claims in an afterword that he’s a huge Kull fan and asks readers to hang around a bit to see what is going on. He expresses his love for the work of Robert E. Howard and a particular admiration for the story “The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune.” He claims the premise of the story is: what if Kull were exposed to Tuzun Thunes mirrors.
The art for this issue is provided by Luca Pizzari. Characters are rendered nicely and the line work in some panels stands out. Backgrounds are also quite nice even as the story moves from modern Antarctica to ancient Valusia. The stand-out section of the book appears toward the end of the story where the detail is ramped up as Kull moves through a forest. Considering all the different environments and things Pizzari had to deal with in the story his art here is really good.
Overall, I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this new take on King Kull. Being a longtime fan myself and having read the source material, as well as most of the comics adaptations that have come before, I’m unsure about this new take on the character. Perhaps my expectations for the story were too much for Waltz’s story to overcome. Readers not as familiar with the character as I am may find a cool man out of time story. With all that said, I’m tempted to come back for the second issue just to see where he is trying to go.
Writing 3 out of 5
Art 4 out of 5
Overall 3.5 out of 5