One of the great things about being able to read a lot of graphic novels is finding that book that catches you by surprise. Tales of Colossus by Mark Andrews is just such a book. The first surprising thing is that it was drawn entirely on the computer. As mentioned in the introduction, the only paper used was in the printing of the book. The second surprising thing is that you'd never guess it was done on computer. We've come quite a long way since the days of Batman: Digital Justice I guess. In fact the cinematic art style calls to mind hand drawn storyboards used in films in not only the art style, but in also in Andrew's concise pacing, often without dialog, and allowing the action to tell the story.
The story is set during the time of the Holy Crusades as a Middle Eastern fortress guarded by knights is overrun by Muslim forces. The only survivor of the attack is a knight named Orlant who is capture and tortured in the dungeons. His will to live sparks interest in the villainous sorcerer Al Rahzear who uses Orlant as a tool of revenge against the European crusaders by placing his soul into a great, metal golem named Colossus and returning him to Europe to wreak havoc on the Muslim's enemies. As Colossus is about to kill the king, the wizard Maulore casts a bolt of magical energy at the construct which has the unintended effect of freeing Orlant's consciousness from Al Rahzear's spell. He now remembers his life and vows he took as a knight and while he's considered a monster, Colossus continues to serve the cause of good.
Two hundred years later, Colossus still lives. People leave gold out for him as he comes to their aid to slay the evil beasts which prey upon the local peasants and receives aid from a local blacksmith named Malcom who keeps his weapons sharp and in repair. The arrival of an evil paladin however spells trouble for Colossus and the local citizens. Grimon Delavrignac arrives with a reputation as a slayer of beasts and an enchanted blade. While he vows to serve the king his true desires for the king's daughter and his throne soon become apparent. Colossus is soundly defeated and one of his metallic arms dismembered. Now the only hope is to find the one man who may be able to mend him and help him defeat the evil knight. But does the wizard Maulore still live?
Tales of Colossus is like an epic Greek myth with a tragic hero, a princess in need of aid, evil villains, and terrible beasts. Even while being hunted and maligned as a tool of evil, Colossus still adheres to the vows he took as a knight to serve good and is appalled at the behavior of Grimon who has disgraced the knighthood. As mentioned Andrews is such a skilled storyteller that he uses a minimum of dialog. What a welcome relief that is from so many other graphic stories that tend to be on the wordy side. Outstanding effort!
Reviewed by Tim Janson