Armor Quest: Genesis Vol. 1
by Ben Avery, Sherwin Schwartzrock
(Cross Culture, 2005)

In an age of knights and dragons, when humankind is commonly terrorized by reptilian nightmares on leathery wings, a boy receives a sword that will lead him on his path to becoming a man and a knight, himself. In short, for those who enjoy great fantasy, Armor Quest is for you.

Writer Ben Avery infuses his characters with rich three-dimensional qualities. None more so than Timothy, the main character of the book, a young man bitter over his father's death and eager to avenge it on the dragons. Equally interesting, though very limited in appearance, is the "shepherd" who gives Timothy his first glimpse into the amazing nature of the sword. Oops! There I go, giving more away. Let it suffice to say that if you want to bring readers back again and again, give them interesting characters with believable motivations and a little mystery. Avery does so quite well.

Then, of course, there's the art of Sherwin Schwartzrock. Drama. Emotion. Evocative imagery. All of that and more awaits those who have yet to feast their eyes on his work. His wonderful grasp of character expression lends a great deal of realism to the tale. Again, it's always good to help readers feel what the character feels. That, coupled with his ample (and appropriate, considering the subject matter) use of blacks, adding depth and a slight sense of the macabre to the artwork, helps make this one of the finest graphic novels I've seen this year. In fact, the cover itself is a gripping testament to Schwartzrock's talent, and is the main reason I stopped and picked it up, rather than moving on to one of the many more mundane choices on the racks.

Yep, Armor Quest is where it's at, folks. And, in case you haven't already guessed, it's highly recommended. And, get this: it's recommended for all ages!

by Mark Allen
28 October 2006

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