King’s Road #1 (Dark Horse)


Rating: 4.5/5 – A Rollicking Fantasy Adventure…
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

Taste in entertainment is a funny thing, what one person loves another might loathe.  I read a whole bunch of comics, I like some, dislike others, and others fall into a middle gray area that’s OK but don’t stand out strongly on either side of the like/dislike line.  It’s this variation in what I will like or not that typically keeps me away from anthology series.  They’re great for sampling a lot of things, but I often find I don’t get enough stories in the solid “like” category to justify my purchase of the title.  Where am I going with this rambling introduction?  Well, King’s Road was introduced in the Dark Horse anthology comic Dark Horse Presents in a series of short installments.  I didn’t read it there because I don’t get that anthology series, so if that was the only place to catch King’s Road I would have missed out on a series that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Fortunately for me, Dark Horse tends to collect/reprint/extend some of the more popular offerings from DHP.

Which brings us to the giant-sized 48-page King’s Road #1.  This #1 issue reprints the 24 pages from Dark Horse Presents (by Peter Hogan and Phil Winslade) and then give us another 24 pages by Peter Hogan and Staz Johnson to continue the tale after the staple.  I’m a big fan of fantasy stories, and this one plays with several familiar tropes of the genre, but in a way that felt fresh to me.  We have the Prince of a fantasy land called Avalon who has broken off with his royal family and chosen to live on present day Earth with his wife to raise his two children away from the magic and court intrigue. But, surprise! (Well, not really…)  Troubles follow him to Earth and now he must return to Avalon with his family and fight to set things right.

King’s Road #1 is a fabulous package, at 48 pages it gave me a lot of story.  Even if I had read the 1st 24 pages in Dark Horse Presents, I’d sill be getting a full comic worth of new material.  We get a switch of art style half way through when it moves from Phil Winslade who drew the DHP chapters to Staz Johnson doing the material new for this issue, but their styles are similar enough that it wasn’t a jarring transition for me.  I liked the characters and, in a hallmark of writing styles that I enjoy, I felt myself immediately taking a liking to the characters and caring about what happens to them.  The evil sorceress even has a great “evil” name, Malicia; maybe something that will cause other people to roll their eyes, but I love it!  This is a 3-issue series so the story will wrap pretty quickly, I’m looking forward to reading the next two installments!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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