Created by Stjepan Sejic
Written by Stjepan Sejic and Ron Marz
Illustrated by Stjepan Sejic
Lettered by Troy Peteri
Top Cow Productions, Inc.
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Cover Price: $14.99
Many times have I’ve read a book and thought that it would make a great comic. But never before have I read a comic that I felt really could have been an epic book – and Ravine is definitely that comic! I’m talking about a whole worldview that is set up here. It’s not just bits and pieces but there’s even a significant amount of history written up for it. This was obviously a massive undertaking.
There is an initial historic lead-in that establishes a volatile past but that quickly segues into the first of a multitude of storylines. I won’t get into them all, but there are several main characters that have important roles to play in this first graphic novel. From the cocky adventurer (and spirit led) Stein, who has more luck than sense but backs up his plays with some potent magic, to newly trained dragonrider Lynn, who isn’t the orphan everyone thinks she is. Throw in Valerius, the most recent Dragonlord, and you get a cast that will definitely find trouble…if it doesn’t find them first. Little do they know they are but pawns in a bigger game, one that is being orchestrated by someone thought long dead…someone who wants to rebuild that which they lost.
The depth of the story is something that intrigues me in this series, it has everything from simple romance to political manipulations. Heck, there’s even an elder god trapped beneath a mountain and I’m not sure he’s too happy about it, either. Lots of new races are seen here and it also seems that gender equality plays a big part in the story, too. One of the most original parts in this comic, however, is the Faetree. That’s where anyone can go to attempt to bond with one of the powerful magical weapons embedded in the huge tree. The higher you climb for an item, the stronger it will be (and the tougher the trial will be).
But I must not neglect my favorite part in this graphic novel: the art. Stjepan Sejic is a master at his craft. Every single frame, page and layout is painted. That’s right. Painted. And wonderfully done, I might add. Every panel is a work of art…but some of them are so detailed, it seems like it must have taken years to complete this…and it sort of did. What I’ve heard is this has been an ongoing project of his for over a decade; it’s also his first creator-owned work with Top Cow! He brought on (the always amazing) Ron Marz to help script it and what a job the two of them have done! This is beyond your average comic book, it is a story like none other you have ever seen in this industry. This first volume sets the stage for what I can only assume will be the most epic of adventures.
You must own this, the art itself dictates that. But once you delve into the story there is no turning back. The second volume is due this Summer and after the cliffhanger this one left me with, I cannot wait to get my grubby little hands on it. Seriously, if you read fantasy novels or have ever kicked back with a comic book, this is a non-negotiable purchase. I would put the plot on par with Feist’s Riftwar Saga or Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. And the art is…well, the art is by Stjepan Sejic, and I think that says it all. But in the end it’s still your decision, just choose wisely is all I ask. Regret is a horrible thing with which to live.