Read This Book: Image Comics’ ‘Compass’

Recently I heard that they are making a fifth Indiana Jones film. It supposedly will be set in the 1960s and deal with the space race and Nazis, and will for all intents and purposes probably be the last Indiana Jones film made, because, I mean, have you seen Harrison Ford recently?

Harrison Ford Shocks Fans With New David-Letterman-Like Look | Harrison  ford, David letterman, Awesome beards

Honestly, I’m OK with this news, (not that they are making a new film because the laws of diminishing returns seem to be in full swing right now,) but that they are not going to make any more after this. I loved Indiana Jones growing up, and to this day still have my complete set of Indiana Jones spin-off novels and comics, as well as a very well-used box set of both the original films and the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. But after seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, well, maybe it’s time to retire the character and give someone else a chance at holding the adventure series reigns.

That being said, I am sad that we don’t have more films like that anymore. There have been some hit or miss attempts, including the Mummy films, the Tomb Raider franchise, and, of course, the greatest adventure series of all time, Duck Tales, but really that kind of pulpy adventure story just doesn’t seem to find its way onto the big or small screen much anymore, and that’s a shame.

I get that there are budgetary issues with that kind of historical epic. You can’t just film in Ontario and call it Ancient Rome, but what’s funny is that when it comes to comics it’s been a while since we’ve had that kind of a story either, with really only Mike Mignola seemingly still carrying that torch.

Comics are a visual medium limited only by artistic talent and imagination, so it’s odd to me that we don’t have more comics in the vein of a historical action-adventure series, especially since the roots of Indiana Jones were firmly embedded in a lot of pulp adventure stories that originated in comics and magazines George Lucas and Steven Spielberg read growing up.

There is, however, some good news. Image Comics, in association with famed Wonder Woman scribe Greg Rucka, has a new mini-series coming out called Compass which will definitely help fill that adventuring void in all our lives. So let’s dive into this book and see what it has to offer.

Here’s the blurb:

GREG RUCKA proudly presents a new direction in adventure with…COMPASS!

Shahidah El-Amin is many things: scholar, cartographer, astronomer, mathematician, scientist, explorer, adventurer, and—when need be—two-fisted fighter. Setting out from Baghdad’s legendary House of Wisdom during the Islamic Golden Age, Shahi’s quest brings her to 13th-century Britain…where the Welsh are whispered to possess the secret of eternal life. But Shahi’s not the only one after it…

Re-teaming from the pages of THE OLD GUARD: TALES THROUGH TIME, writers ROBERT MACKENZIE and DAVE WALKER (LAZARUS SOURCEBOOK) and artist JUSTIN GREENWOOD (Stumptown, THE FUSE, THE LAST SIEGE) take you on a breathless race. Follow the Compass to unlock the secrets of the ancient world!

There’s a lot to love in this series, starting with the fact that Compass has some spectacular art, and does an exceptional job of visual storytelling. As I have mentioned in previous articles, a lot of comics feel the need to drown you in narration, and the art becomes secondary to the story the writer is telling. Personally, I prefer it when the visuals lead the way, and the narration is there to help clarify and move the story along, without sacrificing the artistic integrity of the work itself.

Image Announces Historical Adventure “Compass” – Multiversity Comics

And let’s talk about that story. Set in the 13th century, our hero, Shahidah El-Amin, is pretty spectacular. Intelligent, capable, strong, and we don’t have to deal with the white savior complex that all too often is a hallmark of this kind of story. She’s a powerful female hero of color and honestly, this is a great way to bring more diversity in to comics in a way that feels both natural and interesting.

Preview of Image Comics' Compass: The Cauldron of Eternal Life #1

Great art, a great story, an amazing creative team, Compass has a lot to love, and I really, really, hope this is the start of a great new adventure series. We need more heroes like this.

That’s it for me folks. What are your favorite adventure comics? Let me know down below. Until then, I’ll see you all next week!

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