Friday, April 10, 2020

Herd #1 – review

Creators: Richards, Habjan, Charles, Jones

First published: 2019

Contains spoilers

Herd #1 is the first of a comic series from Floating Rock Comics and first of all I owe them a big apology.

I was contacted by Geoff Richards from FRC to ask if I wanted to look at this issue, which I was happy to do and suggested that I would probably post about this in January 2020. Unfortunately, real life got in the way and looking at the comic slipped my mind. Of course I have looked now, however I should have looked and posted in good time – so, many apologies.

This is the start of a series set in pre-history and focuses on a separate genus of the human family tree, the homo-vampyrus. Stronger and faster than the homo sapiens (and a conceit within the comic is that they are referred to as sapiens, which was no issue and allowed a narrative shorthand) they are dominant and hunting the sapiens to extinction.

We get a sequence with the vampyrus and one, in particular, referred to as Puritan – he has worked out that the over-hunting of the sapiens is going to be the undoing of the vampyrus. The camp vlaynos shows signs of the decay with many vampyrus suffering ‘the crumbling’ – starvation where the body becomes covered in sores and death then ensues – and bodies left out to rot. The chief, Shala, has introduced hunting rules and is dealing with poachers but Puritan realises it isn’t enough and has a plan. We get a very brief glimpse at their society, enough to know that there is a caste system.

We also meet the sapiens tribe, the Lovci, and follow them as they hunt. Their society seems to be matriarchal; this might be because there are so few men but the upshot is the hunting party is all female. This tribe will clearly be drawn into the vampyrus machinations.

This was intriguing and a great start. I liked the hints at a developed world that will be revealed as the comic evolves. The art works well for the story, with a few flashes of violence appearing in the frames. I am loath to score, as this is only the opening of a longer story, however it is worth seeking this out and, I hope, the comic will go from strength to strength. It is available through the FRC page linked at the head of the review or you can go to the FRC Kickstarter Page and follow them there.

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