When I think of hard-to-like heroes that I still root for, the first one that comes to my mind is Robert E. Howard’s adventuring Puritan, Solomon Kane. The man dresses in black and can be an absolute downer with his puritanical ways, but when it comes to fighting men and the supernatural, few stand taller, swing a sword with more authority, or shoot straighter than Solomon Kane.
Because he died at such a young age, Howard didn't get to leave as sizable a legacy of Solomon Kane stories as fans might have wanted. In the last nearly 80 years since his debut, other authors have penned more Solomon Kane tales than Howard. Nearly all of them have been in comic form.
That venue continues in the latest graphic novel release from Dark Horse Comics: Solomon Kane: The Castle of the Devil. Hellboy-creator Mike Mignola drew the awesome cover which immediately drew my eye, and interior artist Mario Guevara kept up the tone throughout the story written by Scott Allie.
The graphic novel collects the first five issues of the new Dark Horse comics series, and I’m glad I read them in the collected edition. I couldn’t imagine having to get and read this story piecemeal month by month. In fact, the book would be better read late at night when the house is quiet, or on a camping trip after everyone else has gone to bed. The atmosphere then would provide a perfect reading experience.
The book opens with an excellent action sequence that shows off Solomon Kane’s deadly skills to their fullest, as well as the supernatural that flavors most of the stories. Guevara’s art is fantastic, and Allie shows good sense in staying off the page and letting his artist carry the weight at this point. Then Allie comes back with brilliant dialogue that transports readers back hundreds of years. You just can’t lose with a narrative hook that involves two wanderers on the trail to danger and adventure.