Reaver is an absolutely phenomenal comic book. The artwork is eye catching, the characters are complex and realistic, and the storyline keeps you on the edge of your seat from cover to cover.

The story is set in the fictional land of Madaras. Volume one told the tale of Hell’s half dozen, a motley crew of Imperial prisoners who I like to think of as a sort of low-fantasy Suicide Squad. The “Hell’s Half Dozen” arc ame to a close in a shocking, vile and extremely violent close in issue six, and without spoiling too much, let’s just say that “half dozen” is no longer an accurate descriptor for this team.

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Issue seven continued the story of Essen Breaker, a hulking behemoth of a man whose body count is in the thousands. He’s left the mainland and returned to Haas Haaden, a “city on the edge of the world”. Not much is known about The Breaker’s past before his violent mission to the Anvil with Hell’s Half Dozen. Issue seven revealed that Essen has a past with this town and with these people, and if he truly looks to become a better man, it will first be done through his heroic actions, namely saving the children of this wonderful town. 

Reaver Stays Strong

Reaver 8 scan

This issue, Reaver #8, is more of a buddy cop style adventure with Rekala, a Skineater and Essen Breaker’s former teammate. Part two of the five part arc “The Grim After” is arguably the strongest chapter of this series to date. The chemistry between the wild, chaotic and incredibly vicious Rekala and the newly heroic Essen Breaker (Also known as The Devil’s Son) is electric. Writer Justin Jordan’s incredible dialogue and world building meshes with artist Niko Hernichon’s gorgeous designs, creating an issue that is undoubtedly the highlight of modern fantasy comics. 

Henrichon is the new series artist for Reaver volume two, taking the torch from Rebekah Isaacs and Alex Guimaraes. The biggest difference between the two is how clean the pages are. Isaas and Guimaraes utilized smooth, bold and distinct line work while Henrichon’s lines are distinctly more jagged and coarse, creating a more adventurous and gritty atmosphere for “The Grim After”. Personally, I prefer the more chaotic artwork of volume two, but volume one is gorgeous in its own right. 

Reaver #8 Review: Fantasy At Its Best - The Illuminerdi

The point I’m trying to make here is that those not reading Image Comic’s Reaver are simply missing out on beautiful, dynamic storytelling. The series puts objectively bad people (Rekala the Skineater and Essen Breaker) in a position to save some lives and do some good. Simply put, the exploration of morality in this comic is thoughtful and sincere. 

The plans of the mysterious man in black are in full swing now, and only time will reveal whether these death defying unlikely heroes will save the day. The greatest thing about the anticipation is that writer Justin Jordan has convinced me that maybe, just maybe, Rekala and Essen Breaker die by this arc’s conclusion. 

Have you checked out the newest issue of Reaver? If not, why wait? It’s the best fantasy comic you’ve read all year, guaranteed, except arguably DC’s The Last God.