I was attracted to this title first by the cover, then by the title. Lake of fire is of course a classic reference to hell, the art shows a small armed group of knights heading towards a steaming chasms in a snowy mountain range, when I flipped through the nicely printed pages it was revealed this was a story featuring Templar knights. I assumed this would be as most stories featuring the Templar, a bashing of them as nothing more than blood thirsty animals such as shown in the Ridley Scott film Kingdom of Heaven, but… This wasn’t the case.
I’ve not tracked down issues 1-3 yet, nor have I read issue 5, but as far as issue 4 is concerned Lake of fire treats this small group of knights as brothers fighting for a cause above them. A higher calling, in this case not what the reader would think. I also made the assumption this was a story about demons, but it appears as though it is in fact about aliens. Surprising as that was, the only clue it’s not about some sort of demon or creature like in The Thing, is about halfway through the title when they find a lightening gun of sorts.
There’s blood, there’s gore, not too over the top though and there’s plenty of small moments alongside the action. This title doesn’t feel cheap or silly, it features heroes you can root for, fighting for their family, and a strong female lead that doesn’t feel as though she’s being used as a gimmick. My only real criticism is the writing by Fairbairn, it doesn’t ever feel like medieval knights or people are talking. It’s much too modern, exclaiming the Lords name in vain would have been completely unheard of by devoted Templar knights, there’s moments where everything feels as it should, but it’s inconsistent. This is a title for both fiction and sci-fi fans and at last one that a history fan can latch onto, and the writing takes the latter out of the experience. Not enough to ruin it however and it’s also possible that this writing style will pull in more readers than if it were more appropriate. This said, the story is well told and well played out, even if it is a bit straight forward. 5 issues isn’t much to tell the story in, I’d have preferred it told over 8 or even 10, there’s plenty here to expand upon and a story that takes it’s time is almost always better than a story that feels a bit rushed.
The art is nice, it may not be for everyone, but it works for me. Matt Smith does a nice job with facial expressions, setting the mood for us based on the eyes of the heroes. Smiths lines help set the emotional tones perfectly. Here we see Smith has everything needed to tell a story with merely his pencil.
Lake of fire concludes in issue 5 and the collected edition (which I’ll feature once I have it) is released the 2/22/17. It’s a little late of course to say this is pull worthy, but I think the TPB is certainly worth a look when it comes out next month. PW
Issue #4, Image, Mature: A compelling and throughly original adventure, that seems a little by the numbers at times, but the art and heroes still won me over. Think The Thing set in the era of the Templar knights. 7.5/10
From Image: LAKE OF FIRE #4 (Link)
Story: Nathan Fairbairn
Art/Cover: Matt Smith, Nathan Fairbairn
Variant Cover: Nathan Fairbairn, Tom Fowler
Published: November 23, 2016
Diamond ID: SEP160735
The crusaders take the battle to the alien demons and bring war to Hell itself in this, the terrifying and action- packed penultimate chapter of LAKE OF FIRE.
Digital : $3.99