Comic Publishers

January 20, 2010

Dark Horse Reviews: Solomon Kane: Death’s Black Riders #1

Solomon Kane: Death’s Black Riders Issue#1
Dark Horse
Writer: Scott Allie
Artist: Mario Guevara
Colorist: Juan Ferreyra
Cover: Darick Robertson

Dark Horse this past year was flat-out amazing in helping revive life into Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane. They started by giving us the amazing mini-series Solomon Kane: Castle of the Devil, and followed it up by giving us two collections of awesomeness: The Saga of Solomon Kane (reprinting stories from Savage Sword of Conan and more) and then The Chronicles of Solomon Kane (reprinting all of Marvel’s color Solomon Kane stories). Now Dark Horse is at it again with a new mini-series, Solomon Kane: Death’s Black Riders, which hits stands today!

Review as follows: Amazing. Fantastic. Awesome. <Insert here> any other adjective describing the never ending goodness the Dark Horse team has continued to bring us with the first issue.

They’ve smartly has re-teamed Mario Guevara and Scott Allie, who worked on the Castle of the Devil mini together, for this project. The art by Guevara is still on point, capturing the cold dark world Kane inhabits to a tee. The brooding vibe of the period combined with the dark-fantastic elements come through on each panel.  Writing by Allie is great, capturing Howard’s story and characters and giving them an honest and true translation to the comic book page. The overall mix of action and horror is non-stop entertaining and leaves you wanting issue #2.

The story tells the tale of Solomon Kane, who while traveling through the German black forest, comes across these dark bandit/demon creatures that dwell in the woods and are attacking gypsies. Our favorite Puritan does what he does best and slays the crap out of them, setting up the back drop for the next 3 issues.  Although it is a sequel to Castle of the Devil, you don’t need to know anything about the mini-series to enjoy or get into this one. So if you’re a fan or just new and curious about the classic character, now is a great time to jump into the world of Solomon Kane.

Drew McCabe



  1. Rick Tucker

    I could not disagree more with your review of this title. First, the look: Robertson’s cover -with that long simian looking face- makes Kane look loutish, not like God’s avenger at all, and more like a guy who doesn’t think twice about putting a musket ball through someone’s eye at close range. Artist Guevera inked looks clumsy. In his previous series we muscled through his poor designs because as pencils they had a quirky Moebuis meets Nino vitality that was more forgivable and actually made me eager to see him develop. Well, it goes downhill here with the blotchy, spotted blacks and hammer-handed line work that doesn’t define so much deconstructs what little structure the pencil may have offered. It’s stilted and just plain ugly. See you around, one time aspiring artist. Hello to, are you the same artist? Really?
    The coloring is, well, there. It has a garish cast that make the greens fairly glow in a darkened room while the backgrounds fade into listless props. The highlighting on the characters faces makes me wonder why they aren’t squinting in the harsh glow.
    The writing, like the art is stilted. We get that Kane’s not much of a conversationalist, but his words are not so much haunting the panels with dire portent of the situation as they are just hanging there, like a comment unbidden and not required.
    As much as I hate to say this a cursory study was all I needed to set this back on the shelf and save myself the 3 dollars and tax.
    I can only hope that my lack of support is seen for what it is, a hope to see serious improvement. I bought both the last series and the trade despite not really being enthusiastic. I made no comment because a lot of people were critical of the effort and I refrain from overkill. Now, I have no choice but to comment for the sake of the character and the company’s handling of him. After that GREAT trade edition, Chronicles of Solomen Kane, even with my reservations of the Saga collection (no fault on DHC’s part just some of the really poor work Marvel produced could have been culled from that collection and never been missed), I’d hoped for better the second time around with their handling of Solomon Kane. I hope they’re reading this.
    Better work than what’s manifest in this new series is required to keep me interested.

  2. Drew

    @Rick: Thanks your thoughts and giving your reasons why you disliked it (it was way better then the folks out there who just write “that’s awful” but don’t back it up).

    I guess to each their own. As I mentioned in the review, I enjoyed it. I like Guevara’s art (although it has changed slightly from Castle of the Devil, which I preferred the art on over this)and the colors I didn’t mind at all. Although a blending of colors, its a battle at night in the black woods, I feel it’s how it’d look. Writing wise I enjoyed too as mentioned. True, there are a handful of panels that the writing was unnecessary but it was a battle based issue and there’s not much deep writing one can do for a fight scene (which I thought was great slaying scene).

    I love what Dark Horse is doing, so in my opinion I hope they keep going with it. As I said, to each their own and feel its worth checking out.

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  5. billy

    The cover seems to fit the tone of the book.

  6. Nice write up here Drew. Wish I could comment further but I’ve read nothing of Solomon Kane!!

  7. InfiniteSpeech

    I remember Marvel putting out this title and not liking it then. Has it changed that much since then?

  8. Drew, the book was amazing and the chase through the woods was so real I could hear the hooves pounding the ground. Scott Allie is turning in a superb effort on Solomon Kane and I can’t wait for the the second installment. Death’s Black Riders rocks!

  9. […] issue#2, out on stands yesterday. The mini-series continues to develop and unlike the action packed first issue, issue#2 develops the story and background we need. Although there is a lot of dialogue and way […]

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