Originally created for “Valiant Entertainment” by Matt Kindt and Paolo Rivera in 2015 as an antagonist for the global law enforcement team known as Unity, Tini Howard’s narrative for Issue One of “The Forgotten Queen” firmly focuses upon just how the War-Monger manages to finally escape her underwater prison, whilst simultaneously exploring the villainess’ enthralling relationship with Genghis Khan and subsequent journey across the Mongol Empire following the first Great Khan’s death. In fact, over half of this twenty-page periodical’s length is dedicated to some fascinating flashbacks which significantly flesh out the immortal woman’s background, whether she be mischievously manipulating the Akkadians into a painful act of barbaric blood-lust or subtly encouraging a caveman to brain his brother with a suitably-sized boulder.
Happily however, the former winner of the “Top Cow” Talent Hunt has clearly done a lot of research before penning this publication, with her love of history imbuing the book’s narrative with a genuine sense of realism which never appears to directly interfere with the natural course of historical events. Instead, the “recently inducted Marvel exclusive writer” shows the nefarious titular character simply standing on the sideline as Temujin unites the Northeast Asian nomadic tribes together, only occasionally inspiring the primal fire within his kingdom’s army to lift a blade and fight like demons [“Marvel.com” 29/03/2019].
For those bibliophiles more interested in Vexana’s modern day shenanigans though, Howard also does a first rate job of depicting the Research Vessel Lohengrin’s deep-sea exploration of a submerged cave system, located somewhere in the wide, unmarked middle of the Pacific Ocean. This tense, understandably claustrophobic sequence, beautifully intertwined amongst the War-Monger’s aforementioned past experiences, provides the publication with a genuinely riveting primary plot-thread as veteran research diver Erik Zafiropolous encounters something far more deadly beneath the waves than an exceptionally aggressive sperm whale which suspiciously collides with the archeological expedition’s ship.
Similarly as successful as Tini’s script are Amilcar Pinna’s sensationally-sketched storyboards, which show an incredible attention to detail, especially when used to draw the instantly recognizable Mongolian armour, complete with its hardened leather plates and lacing. Indeed, it is clear from just the Brazilian artist’s opening panels, which add some considerable menace to a supposedly routine dive, just why his illustration work was described by Howard as having “a kinetic energy to it that I couldn’t possibly have expected. Some of his pages are so dynamic it feels like they’re moving, and yet…” [“Comicon.com” 06/12/2018].