Review: Ex Occultus: The Sword Of Peleus

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Today we’re going to shine a spotlight on a new short you should know about. Last September you may recall I reviewed an absolutely fantastic and really emotional short called Here We Go from Jesse Young on his site WriteJesseWrite.Com (click here if you need your memory jogged). Well Young has a new short story called Ex Occultus: The Sword of Peleus. It’s an action-adventure story that won’t leave you as emotional a wreck as Here We Go. Before we dive in, here’s part of what Young writes on his site about the story:

I didn’t get into comics until I was about 27 or 28 years old. My best friend Rob wanted to do a graphic novel as a prequel to a vampire western novel he had written. That prequel eventually became a series called Ex Occultus and he and I started our own comic company called Saint James. During our time with SJ we did a few issues of Ex, quite a few online shorts as well as several other series. We had a lot of fun, but over time we just didn’t have the funds to sustain a company. Rob focused more on writing prose and I focused more on comics. But the idea of Ex Occultus, the characters Wakefield & Hollander, are something I’ve never been able to get out of my head.
The elevator pitch for Ex is: Indiana Jones meets the X-Files in the 19th century. Wakefield and Hollander have plenty of adventures we’ve yet to see and I still hope to one day get to tell their complete story.

Joining Young is artists Joanna Estep (The Thrilling Adventure Hour) and colorist Paulina Ganucheau. Deron Bennett from Archaia books rounds things out with lettering. So how does the team do with the seven-page short?

The story focuses on Wakefield and Hollander, two adventurers in search of a special sword. The year is 1871 and the duo find themselves on the island of Aegina in Greece. They find the entrance to the temple they wish to enter is guarded by a Sphinx. As is the Sphinx’s modus operandi, she asks the two men a riddle in order to judge if they are worthy to enter. Hollander is young and headstrong. He doesn’t see the point of riddles. Wakefield is an older gentlemanly fellow, but his companion rushes headfirst into danger. Can they figure out the secret of the sphinx? Will they be able to find that which they seek?

Young writes a fast-paced story. In these seven pages we get a good feel of our characters, we know their mission, and we see some action. This is a teaser trailer more than anything. It gives us a little taste and leaves us wanting more. Not all the answers are here, but that’s half the fun. Hopefully we see more of Wakefield and Hollander soon. Estep’s art is great. The character work is stellar, the backgrounds are gorgeous, and the Sphinx makes for a very striking piece of imagery. Ganucheau’s colors are bright and lively with some very lovely yellows showing up throughout the proceedings. Overall, it’s a slick short story that’s well worth the time to read. You can check it out by clicking right here.

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