Kingdoms: A Biblical Epic

Kingdoms: A Biblical Epic (Volume 1-The Coming Storm), (Volume 2, Scions of Josiah), 2007, Zondervan., Ben Avery (writer), Matt Broome Miller  (artist), Harold Edge (artist)160 pp., $9.99 each

This is actually a cool concept–retelling the story of the later kings of Judah, with prophets and all, AND as a literary device, retelling the stories of the judges and earlier kings as well. There are many elements taken directly from scripture, just enough license to make the stories three-dimensional. My problem was keeping the story chronologically linear. A list of the judges and kings along with the accompanying prophets would have helped greatly in keeping the separate stories in their place, and both issue one and two had blank pages at the end. Maybe I can make my own list there, but one provided would have helped in the initial appreciation of the book.

Another problem I had was with the art. I’m not familiar with Matt Brome’s style, but he has worked with both Marvel and DC, so I found it odd that some of the facial drawings were asymmetrical, it was sometimes difficult to tell characters apart and, strangely, most times his drawings of people holding things (spears, swords…things with obvious bulk) looked like objects drawn down on top of closed fists instead of hands holding the items. Open hands look overly cartoony.  I can only imagine the pace of having these books drawn, so perhaps it was the rush of getting the book done on time that led to these flaws, but the other 5 books in the ZGN line did not have observably poor art, although some were at a looser style than the artist usually produces (like Sergio Cariello’s Son of Samson, which appears more sketchy and cartoony at points, but worked well with the story and concept). From what I have seen of Broome’s art, this is not up to his usual quality, unless he is going for a drastically different style than usual.

Anyone who wants to pay close attention to the diverse characters and who enjoy period adventures (Lord of the Rings, Braveheart) should appreciate this book for the behind-the-scenes machinations and warfare as well as the overarching story of the fictional royal advisor Iddo trying to hold the nation and his family together through this difficult time in Israel’s history. The story, although dwelling on issues of God’s presence, providence and power, is not preachy at all, relying on matter-of-fact issues that are covered in scripture, and do not even attempt to convince the reader that  this really happened, merely stating it as fact. Since this is a series of stories taking place long before Christ was born, there is no evangelistic material here, outside of any foreshadowing that exists in the stories themselves.

The art  shifts a bit in issue two, with Harold Edge taking over the major art chores and Broome assisting. I’m not sure the reason for the redistribution is, but Edge’s work moves closer to the cartoony than seems good for this title, which would benefit from a more technically accurate art style to lend weight to the story and more individually to the characters themselves. Writer Ben Avery (Hedge Knight, Lullaby) does a great job presenting the various stories (which cover centuries) and weaving them into a coherent narrative, but, as stated before, a timeline would have assisted greatly in piecing the biblical puzzle together, and this coming from someone who knows a bit about the Bible. I can only wonder how someone unfamiliar with the Core Text will understand it.

(Review by Steve MacDonald)

zgraphicnovels.com 

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One Response

  1. Thanks for the review, guys.

    Just one note though, the character Iddo is a figure mentioned several times in Scripture during the time frame of Kingdoms. He’s also the grandfather of the prophet Zechariah.

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