Issue by Issue – Claw the Unconquered #1

Writer – David Michelinie
Artist – Ernie Chan
Inker – Ernie Chan
Colours – John Albano

David Michelinie and Ernie Chan begin the first issue of Claw the Unconquered by introducing its hero Valcan, or Claw, to the reader, not bothering to delve too much into his background and instead getting into the action almost immediately as a thief looks to relieve Claw of his coin. It is hardly a fair fight as Claw makes short work of the man, after which he decides to rest a bit and have a drink. Readers soon find out that Claw is quite the apt name as it also describes the look of his right hand, unmasked as it were by a serving girl. It seems that she is part of a larger plot and it soon finds Claw under attack, though not by so many men that he cannot defend himself. The book then cuts away to who the audience must assume will be the main antagonist of the story – the King of Pytharia, one Occulas of the Yellow Eye. Michelinie takes readers on a trip through the past of Occulas, one which is tied to that of Claw’s, though Occulas knows it not. It finds him a king slayer, not wanting to wait any longer for his chance to rule and so he takes it with a bit of planning, yet leaving a baby who is prophesied to cut that rule short. Claw is unaware of any of this, his past and his future being quite vague to him, but so long as he has the hand of a demon, there are going to be those who take an interest in him no matter where he goes or what he does. Eventually, the same waitress who accosted him and betrayed him earlier arrives with an offer of help, one he cannot help but be wary of and yet again, she fails him and leads him into danger, this time in an abandoned temple where one of Occulas’ men awakens an old god by the name of Kann – the All-Consuming to destroy Claw. Like many a sword and sorcery epic, our hero is attacked by the monstrosity while the beautiful girl finds herself in peril and just when it seems that all is lost, Claw manages to pull out a win, though readers are left wondering if it was Claw himself or the hand on his arm that did the saving. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of questions to be answered and Michelinie ends it off in a good spot as Claw leaves all of that trouble behind him, at least for the moment. As for Chan, credited as Ernie Chua in the book, the man’s artwork is a wonderment to behold, the book truly a thing of beauty with a hero who is just a bit different than the average barbarian and one with a mystery behind him to keep drawing readers back time and again.

4.5 out of 5

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