Rating: 4.5/5 – Knights of the Cathar Crusade vs. Alien Bugs!
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
I love historical fiction set in the times of the knights. Lake of Fire is set in 1220, during the Cathar Crusade in Southern France. The story involves the clash between the knights and the survivors of a crashed alien ship… and in this first issue we’re only getting started! The mash-up of historical fiction and science fiction worked quite nicely for me in this issue.
Nathan Fairbairn’s story follows a interestingly mixed group: a headstrong and over-reaching young knight, the older more experienced Count Henry who serves his mother and is looking out for him, an older and very jaded Baron Mondragon who has seen it all and is pretty sick of it, and a zealot Dominican priest, as well as various retainers attached to each of these characters. This entire group is sent away from the siege of Castelnaudary by Lord Monfort as he considers them all to be kind of a nuisance, each in their own way. He sends them to check out suspected heresy in Montaillou, a city he randomly picked off the map, as a way to get rid of them all. Matt Smith’s art is clean, clear, and does a good job of keeping the story moving along. His art reminds me of Jeff Smith and I’ll be keeping an eye out for his future projects, he’s an artist whose work I took an immediate liking to in this issue.
This 44 page first issue gets things off the ground, introducing all the characters, the situation they’re in, and the conflict they will be facing. Fairbairn’s pacing is nicely handled and I got a good mix of action, character building, and background on the world of 1220 AD. I appreciated how the history of the time was blended seamlessly into the storytelling. I got a lot of context out of the story as I was reading it, never feeling like I was being lectured, but getting a lot of valuable info as I was carried along by the narrative. I’m looking forward to the continuation of this tale. Were the big bugs they met this issue the only survivors of the alien ship, or will we be meeting even more challenging foes? I don’t know but I’m anxious to find out!
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture