The Portent #1 (Image Comics)

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Where high fantasy and low-brow speech battle it out on the page.

Image; 28 pgs FC; $2.99

(W/A: Peter Bergting)

Deliverance (not the movie) and the restoration of balance seem to be the overarching themes of Peter Bergting's recent series, The Portent, which centers upon a prophesized warrior's arrival to an abandoned outpost in the middle of the deadlands in order to rescue a young woman, a soldier, and a group of wizened seers. Throughout the story, Bergting emphasizes the necessity of binaries, of good and evil in balance.

The cover to The Portent #1 by Peter BergtingFor Bergting, however, it looks like the evil spirits of writing have won out on this first installment. Chockablock with shoddy dialogue that wavers from a weird marriage of high fantasy and modern English to the juvenile back-and-forth-ings between the Portent and the young woman, one wonders if the real challenge of this story isn't the reading of it.

Rushed would be the operative word for this first issue, the story zipping through a basic lofty introduction about the dichotomy of man to his ancestors (read: spirits) before skimming over the Makkurkalve, some half-robot, half-spirit device that escapes, presumably to join the army that forms later outside the outpost. If readers are having trouble picturing this scene, just think of the Helm's Deep battle from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers minus all the good guys but Strider.

Still, Bergting does leave readers on a cliffhanger, which might be the opportunity he needs to write himself out of the slump that is issue one. Aside from the occasional disproportionate character, the illustrations are generally moody and expressive. Bergting renders the characters interestingly within the grim landscape, often in warmer tones, which contrast the overpowering grays and blues of the deadlands. With the hope of finding out more about the Makkurkalve and just how the Portent will make his way out of his current predicament there are definitely some reasons to continue reading the story, but at this point, it's a coin-toss.


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