Comic Review 204 // SLÁINE: LORD OF THE BEASTS by Pat Mills


Got another Slaine graphic novel under my belt. Crazy to think I am now nine collections in. I really enjoyed the series and was hoping Lord of the Beasts would continue the trend.

Title: Sláine: Lord of the Beasts (Sláine #9)
Author: Pat Mills
Artist Team: Rafael Garres, Paul Staples, Wayne Reynolds, Siku, David Bircham & Steve Parkhouse.
Blurb: THE LOST YEARS!

Having united the Tribes of the Earth Goddess to battle the hoards to enslave demons determined on enslaving them, Sláine was appointed as the first High King of Ireland. After protecting the tribes for seven years, he was put to death so that he could serve Danu in the afterlife.

This exciting collection features a series of adventures which took place during Sláine's seven-year reign – a period where he spent time as a near-mindless beast stuck in a warp spasm, was reunited with his son Kai and was forced to defend his lands against the Secret Commonwealth of demons led by his old enemy, Medb!


Format: E-book 256 pages

Review

Grail War seems to be the end of the epic Slaine tales (for now), and Lord of the Beasts is just a series of short stories collected together as Slaine's "Lost Years". Most of them are set during Slaine's High King of Ireland.

We start things off with the title tale Lord of Beasts. It explores what would happen if Slaine became trapped within the Warp Spasm beast he can become. Cleverly told by Nest, it is a tale of love as Niamh races to rescue Slaine before he is trapped forever. The artwork in this one is bat-shit crazy and the fantasy styling is lovely.

We follow this up with two tales about Kai, the son of Slaine and Niamh. The first involves an ambush by the Fomorians as they attempt to capture Slaine and his bloodline in the hopes of ending his line. A simple story but comical at times and fun to read. Then we get The Banishing, which sees Slaine involved in a parent-teacher meeting as Kai is facing banishment for experiments gone wrong.

A lot of the stories are pretty standard, they work as a one-shot, but when reading back to back, they can become dull. Luckily, there is some stand out tales like "The Swan Children". Based on a Celtic Legend and beautifully recreated with the artwork, it is about the four foster siblings of Slaine and Niamh. Such a beautiful story and how the children affected Ukko shocked me!

But for every standout there is a disappointment. The Secret Commonwealth falls under this bracket. For this adventure, we have Slaine facing off against his old enemy Medb. She has returned at the head of an otherworldly army. I don't get what was happening here; Slaine looks weird. To be honest, it seems like they had hoped to edit the style of the artwork for a more modern look and simply lost the character and ended up making the story feel disjointed. It's a shame to end on a downer, but that is how it goes sometimes. I wonder if the story was recreated in different styling, if it would work, or if the tale was just destined to fail.

Have you read Lord of Beasts? Let me know.

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