Staff Picks (September): Taarna Volume 1 TP

Full disclosure, I was working as a projectionist in a movie theater when the Heavy Metal movie came out and I watched it 3 times a day for a month. After a while you start to ignore the films and go about your job maintaining the projectors or splicing trailers but no matter what I was doing I always stopped and watched the Taarna sequence. Taarna, the last of the warrior race the Taarakians ushered in the 80s and competed the synthesis of rock music and epic fantasy imagery. If you are a male of a certain age you have this Moebius inspired heroine imbedded in your pubescent DNA. Taarna’s image astride her winged mount was perhaps the film’s most iconic character but still she was always more a logo or symbol – always a character in search of the rest of her story.

Heavy Metal Comics and Alex de Campi have finally given her that story she always deserved. This is an epic adventure filled with warring armies, oppressive rulers and a badass woman with a sword kicking ass and avenging injustice. Wounded in battle Taarna discovers that she's been enlisted into the wrong army and labeled a spy and the fast paced action takes off from there. But aside from the severed limbs and plot critical nudity we also get a much more developed understanding of Taarna’s character as de Campi fleshes out her motivations giving her long overdue nuance and depth. We are introduced as well to cast new and engaging characters that provide additional storylines and intrigue. Alex is the perfect writer to straddle the line between the character’s exploitation roots and empowered present. Esau Escorzi is an artist I was not familiar with until this book but he has an impressive command of line and is a draughtsman of some talent who brings to life this rich world and captures Taarna’s steely allure.

Taarna is a mature and epic story worthy of her Heavy Metal roots.

Jim Fallone

Publisher: Heavy Metal
Item Code: SEP181827
Release Date: 11/28/18
SRP: $9.99

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Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the TMNT, calls this book a “totally fictional true story,” meaning that this is a fictional take on his life after having sold the TMNT franchise.