Writer: Mark London
Illustrator: Andy King
Colorist: Alejandro Giraldo
Letterers: Miguel Zapata, Christian Ospina
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios, Inc.
Review by Cory Webber
Battlecats is a medieval fantasy-adventure comic about a group of chosen warriors that are trained from an early age to protect the mandates of the Lion God, the realm, and the crown. This first arc takes them on a quest to slay the legendary Dire Beast.
The premise of Battlecats is fantastic. While I may not be the target audience of fantasy readers who are into RPG’s or tabletop games, like Dungeons & Dragons, I am a sucker for stories involving anthropomorphic animals. So, to see that there was a comic comprised of anthropomorphic cats donning battle armor seemed somewhere up my alley.
Now, like I said, the premise is great; however, the execution is somewhat lacking. The issue begins with an edict from the King, sending the Battlecats on a mission to slay the Dire Beast. The story drops us in the middle of their quest, and introduces them as they are setting up camp. I found it hard to follow who was who. It could have benefited from having a dialogue box introducing each character and something about their powers and skills.
There is little back story, not even a flashback, as to why these cats are together. As a result, we don’t really get to know these cats, and what their motives are other than being sent by a King we know nothing about. One example of the plot being kind of confusing is that the second issue ends on a cliffhanger, but the third issue goes on as if it never happened.
The plot doesn’t progress much in these first three issues. The majority of these issues deals with the cats making their way to the Dire Beast. While that is the main quest, I feel like London could have given us a little more backstory.
The action scenes almost follow a turn-based style of fighting. This doesn’t seem to make much sense since for this medium. While there is some good action sequences, I found it mostly hard to follow. And, it seemed that the blood and gore was there just for the sake of there being blood and gore. There was a decent sense of motion and direction in the action scenes. However, any time a lot of blood was spilled, which was often, it appeared to be strewn about as if they were frozen sheets of blood, which was jarring.
That said, the colors did draw me in. They were bright and exciting. I liked how each character had their own distinct eye color, which intensified as they did battle. While I’m not really quite sure what each character’s power set is, I enjoyed the clever uses of their skills. Also, there is something intriguing about the moon, which changes colors and seems to affect powers, for good or bad. This was one case where the lack of exposition created mystery, instead of confusion.
Verdict: Skip it.
I really wanted to love Battlecats. I really did. The plot spun its wheels for too long, and the characters didn’t justify any emotional investment. The amount of story in these issues could have easily occurred in one to one-and-a half issues. There was just too much showing and not enough telling. Also, I cannot in good conscience recommend a standard-length book for $4.99 USD.