ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Battlecats Volume 3: Hero of Legend,’ Issue #1

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Battlecats Volume 3 - But Why Tho?

Battlecats Volume 3: Hero of Legend #1 begins a new story arc in Mad Cave Studio’s series written by Mark Landon with art by Michael Camelo, color by Tekino, and design and letters by Miguel A. Zapata. Previously in Volume 2, King Eramad III has fallen, and the Darkats have taken over Valderia. Artain was revealed to be the evil Valadar’s secret brother, both baring the Mark of the Fang, so he has joined the Battlecats in Kelthan’s stead since he has lost his way. Vaela is also revealed to be the descendant of one of Eramad I’s advisors who were embued with the Lion God’s powers and now bears some of that power herself. Both Valadar and Myrthalen are bent on using their powers for their own purposes.

DreamWorks needs to turn Battlecats into their next hit Netflix animated series post haste. It’s an epic high fantasy with a deep and complicated world, magic, and relationships. Every volume deepens the mysteries, and the lore in Battlecates Volume 3 is no exception. The rival gods, history of Valderia, selection of the Battlecats, and search for the next Eramad are just the surface of its depth, and I look forward to continuing to dive into this world. It gives me all of the She-Ra, Tales of Arcadiaand Kipo vibes in terms of world-building, the theme of fighting for your friends, and constantly deepening plot. It’s perhaps more adult and violent than the corollaries that come to mind, but nonetheless, the excitement I get from this series is similar.

The one challenge with this series is that it often is so focused on worldbuilding and the bigger picture that the individual characters are left without enough fullness. In Battlecats Volume 3 #1, things are much the same so far. With all the additional characters introduced at the end of the previous volume, it may be difficult for the series to give distinct personalities to everybody. Ultimately, I’m okay with this since I’m in this series for the overarching plot, but I hope the volume gives some more time to its main characters as characters. Fortunately, each of the Battlecats fits neatly into a familiar D&D-type class, and you can easily graft your own expectations of such a character onto these and feel satisfied enough that you at least know them heuristically.

Visually, this is a strong series, and Battlecats Volume 3 continues to get stronger. At first, I struggled to discern certain characters from others because they didn’t look distinct enough. Still, this issue is limited enough in the number of characters present that they all feel distinct in both overall design and features. The world’s different regions also have very clear illustrative and color distinctions to help make clear the world of Valaria is vast and diverse. There’s some especially impressive facial work done to illustrate the despair and anguish of many of the characters in this issue. In addition, the SFX in this issue are drawn so that the sounds they represent easily rang in my ears.

Battlecats Volume 3 is off to a solid start. I’m more than looking forward to seeing how the overall story and world continue expanding and deepening before the series concludes, even if individual character details may get left behind in the process.

Battlecats Volume 3: Hero of Legend #1 is available July 7.

Battlecats Volume 3: Hero of Legend #1
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TL;DR

Battlecats Volume 3 is off to a solid start. I’m more than looking forward to seeing how the overall story and world continue expanding and deepening before the series concludes, even if individual character details may get left behind in the process.