The Necromancer's Map #1The Necromancer’s Map #1

Writers: Andrea Fort, Michael Christopher Heron
Artist: Sam Beck
Colorist: Ellie Wright
Letterer: DC Hopkins of AndWorld Design
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99

Bethany and Elissar of Songs for the Dead continue their story in Vault Comics’ new series The Necromancer’s Map #1. This time the necromancer with a heart of gold and her brawler companion start a new adventure to find the Covenant, a sanctuary for the unpopular brand of magic Bethany wields.

When the first issue begins, Bethany is asking for help from The Foggard temple. Her map is filled with a language that she is struggling to decipher, and she is told that the mages at the temple may be of some help. With her is Elissar, but after a violent battle at Boulder’s Envy, Elissar is not quite alive anymore, and the tension between the two is palpable.

The mages tell Bethany that they don’t think they can help her despite the fact that the language on the map is from their order. They reveal it hasn’t been used in a century, and the only person who may be able to translate it is a young wizard named Jonas. Unfortunately, Jonas is the victim of a mysterious illness and is limited in what he can do.

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The new series is written by co-authors Michael Christopher Heron and Andrea Fort. They are joined by artist Sam Beck, colorist Ellie Wright, and letterer DC Hopkins of AndWorld Design, the same creative team from the first round of adventures.

For fans of Songs for the Dead, this is the perfect continuation. The tension between the two main characters makes for an interesting subplot, especially when you learn that Elissar is bitter about being tethered to Bethany after she used her magic to resurrect him.

Having not read the previous tales, I found myself curious about what happened. At points during the issue I was a little confused and felt thrown halfway into an established narrative without much backstory. The story itself is compelling and even though I didn’t know the history, I still enjoyed the setup. What is really going on in the temple? Why is Jonas sick? What will happen when the map is translated?

Heron and Fort have crafted an interesting tale, although at some points I felt it was a bit wordy and some of the dialogue seemed cumbersome. Beck’s art, however, is rich, and each page is gorgeously laid out. Wright’s colors only enhance it further as do Hopkins’ clean letters.

Despite feeling a little lost and weighed down by large blocks of text, The Necromancer’s Map #1 shows promise. There is enough in the narrative to bring me back for another issue, and the art gives it bonus points. If you are a fan of fantasy, it is definitely worth a look.

The Necromancer’s Map #1 is available on August 28. Head over to Vault’s website for more info. To purchase online, click here.