Rating if the Book Were a Movie: PG-13
Writer: Brett Hillisheim
Illustration / Letters: Matin Patron, Rune Makerz, Brian Demarest
Editor: Brian Lambert
Publisher: Wingless Comics
Interior Artwork: 4.1
Cover Artwork: 4.5
About the Book:
If Immortalis was set as a straightforward action story with characters that scheme, intrigue and plan as well as fight physical battles then it would be packing a lot in. As it juxtaposes the eternal conflict between light and dark with the fall of Byzantium the scale and magnitude of the story increases to epic level.
The story opens in an action packed, engaging, manner at Patras and the action themed content is maintained throughout but layered with plotting, planning and scheming both earthly and infernal.
As Immortalis has a significant historical setting the quality of the world building is important to help the reader immerse themselves fully into the story. The quality of the storyline and art ensure Immortalis succeeds in painting a vivid and engaging historical backdrop against which the increasingly desperate characters make their final rolls of the dice.
The characters are clearly depicted and differentiated and their conflicts both emotional and physical are easy to understand as motivators that drive their actions. Given the coming together of Konstantine and Gylou during Part 1 it looks like their particular conflicts will only increase in intensity and complexity. The way they moved from enmity to bed was a little abruptly delivered and I would have liked to see how that transpired in a little more detail, particularly if there was some initial scheming involved or indeed if it was love at first sight.
Flashbacks were relevant and well delivered and it was clear ‘whereabouts’ the reader was in the story at any given point.
The storyline itself had intriguing sub-plots, particularly in Gylou’s timeline, that were powerful in themselves and served to underpin the main narrative very effectively.
We saw via flashback Gylou undergo a character transformation that will feed into a sub-plot but with the story finishing nicely balanced just as major action is about to occur the other characters had not yet traced enough arc to hit transformational shock points.
The dialogue was energetic and matched the pace of the storyline well and the internal art was strong, clear and vibrant with effective use of distance shots in particular to place the reader in new situations. All the cover art was stunning and relevant to the storyline. When I saw all the cover art we were treated to four pieces, The main cover and one each for vol 0 -the giveaway, part one and Gylou’s story.
Speaking of Gylou’s tale, the illustrated ‘origins’ story at the end of volume one was beautifully delivered, kind of like a child’s fairy story but soul-suckingly dark.
I enjoy stories set within a historical backdrop and the mythological elements within Immortalis only serve to raise the stakes considerably. I’m really looking forward to Part 2 when it launches on Kickstarter in August.
Immortalis is part of the stable of seven comics produced by Wingless Comics/ Wingless Entertainment, a multimedia group that is responsible for some creative and engaging sci-fi/fantasy publications.
Part 1 was funded on Kickstarter in September 2022 with part 2 due to hit the platform in August 2023.
The story melds significant historical events from the late medieval period; namely the death throes and ultimate fall of Byzantium – the eastern Roman Empire with the on-going spiritual fight for control of the world between the forces of good and evil. No lack of ambition when dealing with the scale of the story!
Set against these epic backdrops we see the protagonist Konstantine, Emperor of Byzantium, Loukas his trusted lieutenant and Gylou a mysterious assassin each with their own take on the situation and fighting desperately within the conflicts that are threatening to engulf their respective worlds. Konstantine is also trying to parse the meaning within an ancient prophecy that may hold the key to both the external and spiritual conflicts.
As such it has plenty of action as the empires of men fight their earthly battles but equally there is the spiritual conflict unfolding as the forces of evil try to use events to further their causes as well as settle old scores with former followers.
Things start with a short action in the city of Patras as it falls from Latin to Byzantine rule. This section was originally a digital giveaway and here forms a nice introduction to the protagonist Konstantine and supporting characters, Loukas and Gylou. It shows their motivations and the initially antithetical relationship of the former two with Gylou.
We see a couple of pages that show us the background to Gylou and her horrific activities as she took the role of an earthly agent in hell’s cause, we also see the event which turned her murderous proclivities around.
Finally, the story moves to Constantinople as it nears the twilight of its existence. We see some of the antagonistic characters in action including the Council of Hell and how they are ready to shape earthly events to serve their purposes as Gylou and Konstantine come together both literally and metaphorically aligning their goals and attempting to thwart Hell’s plans.
The story ends well with the Ottoman Sultan succumbing to Hell’s plotting and launching his army against Constantinople. Seeing how the fifty-three-day siege plays into volume 2 is something I’ll be looking forward to.
At the end of part one we then have an illustrated story giving us the full background to Gylou the immortal. How she gave up her humanity to fight the cause of the devil, her evil life and times and the event that made her turn aside from that path, at the same time causing her to be marked forever as Hell’s enemy.