The Occultist: Review

1864

Created by Michael Richardson

Written by Tim Seeley

Drawn by Victor Drujiniu with colors by Guy Davis

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Ever feel like despite your best intentions, things just kind of go wrong? That is how the Occultist‘s protagonist, Rob Bailey, is feeling about his life in general. He is just an average college kid who can’t seem to get it right. His girlfriend just dumped him for another dude. His ill mother hardly has a grip on what life is actually like for a young man, though she has plenty of opinions to shovel his way. His career consists of working in a dusty, old (though rather cool) bookstore for a whopping fifty-three dollar paycheck. His life is in that rut that we all feel sometimes. He just can’t get ahead, and that’s worthy of an empathetic nod.

Like so many powerful comic protagonists who began their careers as average Joe’s, everything changes for Rob within a blink of an eye. During a completely ordinary shift at the book store he is suddenly confronted by a mysterious looking book which, no matter where he sets it down, ends up right beside him, taunting him to open it. The book has chosen Rob Bailey to be the one who wields, and is literally the human sheath, of the Occultist’s sword. Rob Bailey doesn’t exactly know what this means yet, but suddenly he finds himself running for his life from three Tulpae Covus (Crow Spirits) who have taken human form in order to find the book and kill the chosen wielder of the sword. In a frantic effort to get away he is suddenly able to do some crazy feats of magic.

Once Rob is chosen by the book the plot flies. The comic transitions from taking an ordinary look into an average guy’s life to suddenly showing scenes of occult magic spewing everywhere with very little to go on in the way of explanation. A fast plot is not necessarily a bad thing, but this was a bit jarring. There was a lack of mood transition between the first half of the book and the second as a difficult balance is attempted to be struck between humorous and intense. Rob Bailey still just seems like some college guy, but now he’s running from demons. That’s kind of cool. But the ‘why should we care’ just isn’t there yet.

The ending was worthy of an intrigued rising of an eyebrow. It ends with a cliff hanger – which is unexpected considering that this is labeled as a one-shot. As a series, this story certainly has potential. As a one-shot it leaves something wanting. Of course, though, one-shots like this are often the test run for something longer and greater. This book came out last week (December 15) and sold-out before I was able to get to my local comic store. The book had been restocked for this week. I’m not sure of the national sales of the sales the title overall yet. For anyone curious if this book has a shot of becoming a series, I will try to post the sales results as soon as they come out.

If you have read the Occultist, or wish to know more before you spend the $3.50, check out Comic Book Resources Interview with author Tim Seeley here.

Review by Jackie Krah

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