Writer: Ram V
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colourist: Roshan Kurichiyanil (Rosh)
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Action Lab – Danger Zone
Following on from 2017’s action-packed series Brigands, the first issue of Ruin of Thieves drops us straight back into the story. The Myros Comet, the herald for a mysterious magical artefact, has arrived. Whilst the mysterious Emir and Tuat recover the object, our chief brigand Stilian Desault and his eclectic band of criminals find themselves on the smuggler’s island of Rekik. After meeting another band of fugitives, and becoming embroiled in murky political drama, Desault and the brigands are forced into a shaky alliance in order to escape…
Ruin of Thieves #1 begins with the arrival of the Myros Comet, a portent that was mentioned in the previous series. Arriving in a truly spectacular series of panels, it garners the interest of Emir and Tuat, who are searching for the Myros Pendulum. It is this artefact that Stilian, and his thief compatriot Veina, promised to secure in exchange for pardons back in Brigands. With their recruits, Grizzly the fighter, Wilbur the pyromaniac, the ‘wizard’ Roshkin Wink and the fearsome assassin know as ‘The Count’, the group make it as far as the supposed freeport of Rekik. Their destination is Krantal, where the comet has arrived. Unfortunately, Zamish and his soldiers, fresh from Krantal, are on the hunt for targets across the island. Avoiding the soldiers leads to a chance encounter with another group of fugitives and introduces us to the rebellious Solomon. Before they know it, the brigands are embroiled in a politically charged plot and may have to free all the slaves on the island before they can go any further.
Ram V, who recently penned the excellent Paradiso for Image Comics, has crafted a rich, vast fantasy world here, with complicated characters and seeds elements of the story for later. As in his previous work, this issue feels like the start of a novel, and does not hand-hold you through the fast-paced narrative, allowing a reader to piece things together. This also means that reading the previous Brigands story helps; this issue is perhaps not the best place to jump into things, but a helpful summary at the start goes a long way to support new readers. Dialogue flows well, characters have distinct personalities, and there is a refreshing smattering of humour.
The art team of Kumar, Rosh and Bidikar have done excellent work here. This issue has highly detailed panels, variations in both panel positioning and perspective, and intricate character designs that allows the large cast to be easily identifiable at a glance. Colouring helps here, and both supports the action across the pages, whilst also highlighting key points with themed (and often vivid) colour choices. The lettering is on point, giving us clear and concise dialogue, including an intriguing hint as to how to cast spells in this world. Overall, the design has an almost cinematic quality that hints at good things to come in subsequent issues. The cover art for this issue is also sumptuous, with cover A by Sumit Kamar (the story artist), a stark shift in colour palette for cover B by Artyom Trakhanov and a muted watercolour-like piece for cover C by Anand Radhakrishnan.
A bold and interesting start to this series, Ruin of Thieves #1 is an exciting fantasy adventure that boasts a complex story supported by excellent art. Issues 1 and 2 are available now, with the third just around the corner, and are available from all good comic book retailers.