Written by: Rob Williams Art by: Dom Reardon Colours by: Peter Doherty Published by: Rebellion
The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azreal (and the DEAD LEFT in His Wake) #1 (of 6) is an intriguing tale that is far more than just the delicious name of the titular character. We start our journey in the familiar ‘introduction’ narrative, we learn of our unforgiving anti-hero, his life awash in the blood of untold numbers of victims. So dark is the nature of Ichabod, so terrible is his murderous ways, that as we reach the midpoint of the issue, it is hard to see any kind of redemptive aspects to him. Rob Williams makes no excuses for the unrelenting nature of Ichabod, and indeed he pushes him on to even greater acts of rage.
This western set story, a mix of violence, demons, myth and suitably effective comedic relief, is not your typical comic. While the build up is a little drawn out, you really start to be drawn into the story. As repugnant as the deeds of Ichabod have been, his unrelenting fire draws you to his quest. The object of his determination, the love of a woman, is a little cheesy but, in any such tale, it is entirely fitting that love could turn such a heartless killer into something better.
The art from Dom Reardon is expansive, the harsh characterisation is fitting and the western backdrop is very effective. The use of colour, to denote different aspects of the story, is also a nice touch. One scene in particular benefits from this effect – one where Ichabod is in dire peril. There is something of a false ending to this issue, where you would feel you had reached the natural end point to the issue, yet the story continues and further progresses. The page count is well used by Williams, as we reach the final panels of this story, we are rooting for our murdering badass, while his quest is seemingly impossible there is something to the fire burning within the heart of Ichabod that gives you faith in him despite the insurmountable situation in which he finds himself. Quality stuff.