During the rise of the Catholic church, many smaller faiths were decimated and forgotten. Humans following pagan gods were either indoctrinated or killed. Teuton brings us a well woven tale by writer Fred Kennedy and artist Adam Gorham that follows the point of view of a Teutonic Knight involved in a war of mortals and gods.
Teuton vol.1 & vol. 2
Writer: Fred Kennedy
Artist: Adam Gorham
Publisher: Big Sexy Comics
Right from the get-go, Teuton is an engaging read. It carries the aroma of a very real historical period, but is drenched in the supernatural. The rise of the Catholic church was not exactly one of peace and morals. It included a lot of war, death, and forced indoctrination. Teuton adds the element of a pantheon of pagan gods, and it makes for one very dynamic and well put together read. While a story that is solely based on this holy war may make for a comic on its own, centering around the actions of an intriguing cast of gods makes for an even more entertaining read.
Teuton is told from the point of view of an extraordinary Teutonic Knight who is directly involved in the events that transpire between gods and mortals. Mortals are at war with other mortals, and gods are conspiring against each other. There are many different battles being waged during this story, and it becomes continuously more interesting as slowly more mysteries are revealed. And when gods are involved, there is always some mystery and abstract motives. The politics between gods are always a pleasure to observe. Kennedy introduces an interesting cast of gods, and they play off each other very nicely. Their motivations, powers, and personalities in general are very fitting of gods and fun to read. They have (mostly) non-physical confrontations with humans, and merely influence and direct them, using mortals like chess pieces. All that being said, there are also some very likable human characters involved as well, which really help push along the story. While there is a war being waged, it isn’t quite clear who the villain and who the hero is. Or better yet, which side is good, and which is bad. While there is the idea that the Catholic order may seem evil at first, there is mention of how the pagan worshipers were the first aggressors in the war. The reader is allowed to make up their own mind about who they want to cheer for.
At first glance, it is a little difficult to gather who every character is. The gods are easily recognizable, but the humans are a little bit hard to follow. This is mostly because of two reasons. One being it is a brand new cast to the reader, and the other being the fact that during this time period you either had a huge beard or…you didn’t. But luckily, within the first 10 pages or so this becomes a non-factor between Kennedy’s characterizations and Gorham’s artistic nuances. The story really hooks you from the start, which is always a bonus. As mentioned before, if it was strictly a story between the two warring human factions, it would have been an interesting tale. But with the added element of vicious gods, it gets that much better. Kennedy had a clear direction he wanted to take this story, and took his time getting there. The pace isn’t rushed, but is fast enough to keep a reader interested. The gods are intense and exciting to see, and the humans are engaging as well. Teuton is a great blend of drama, action, adventure, and godly meddling. To top it all off, Adam Gorham was the absolute perfect artist for this whole story.
The first volume is in black and white and available online. Reading it from a computer screen was nice, with the blacks coming through crisp and clean. But when reading volume 2 in paperback form, it was even better. You can study the images better, and really get a better feel for the layouts of the pages, which really helps excel the flow of the story. Gorham adds some nice little touches to differentiate the characters, and by the end of the story creates a really unique cast. The gods are a pleasure to look at, and genuinely depict the elements that they represent. Gorham chooses the perfect moments of when to add detail to the pages, and “blurs” out the landscapes or scenes at just the right times. The whole story has a really rough feel to it, which is perfect for the time period it takes place in. The action scenes really flow and help you imagine them as if they were happening in front of you.
You can tell that plenty of thought had to be put into Teuton before it even touched paper. A cast of gods and men had to be developed. Personalities had to be decided. Where, when, and how this story would be taking place was also a very important decision. Luckily, it seems as though Fred Kennedy put exactly the right effort needed into this story. Gorham was the perfect fit for artistic duties on this, and really showed he has a knack for this genre. Teuton volume 1 & 2 is a pleasure to read from start to finish, finding its footing from the start and ending with a bang. The pacing is well done, the characters are interesting and engaging, and the art flows amazingly from panel to panel. There are a lot of sword and sorcery tales out there, and this one is definitely worth checking out.