By Jarred A. Luján — Relics of Youth #1, a new title from regularly-awesome publisher Vault Comics, released this week. Relics is sort of an interesting addition to the Vault publishing line, one that has more of a YA feel to it than most of Vault’s other titles. With crazy cool cover art (that Deadly Class variant tho) and my favorite logo on a book ever, Relics of Youth had some solid momentum, even before I cracked the book open.
This first issue was really a sampler of all the different parts that make up this comic and this story. You’ve got these teenagers with weird tattoos (the tattoos look normal, but they have a tendency to glow and maybe also do other magical things), a blending of wholly different personalities, partying, and mysticism. Writers Matt Nicholas and Chad Rebmann balance out the different characters well. The first issue doesn’t have a ton of action or anything, but it doesn’t really need that. This is a slow burn of a debut, one that gives us as readers a chance to know this group of six teenagers better. Instead of worrying about blowing something up right off the bat, we get to spend time meeting all of these folks and developing an emotional interest in the stakes of the comic. It’s a simple concept, but one that often escapes first issues.
This gets balanced out by the book’s fantastic ending. What better way to end a slow burning first issue than by immediately spiking the stakes a hundred fold? I won’t go into details (no spoilers!), but Relics of Youth #1 has one hell of a hook, which practically guarantees most readers will be buying #2 (I know I will).
Skylar Partridge is a brilliant artist, and here’s why: I’m not sure there’s anyone drawing better emotional faces right now. Again, this is something you get to spend a lot of time on in this issue because it’s that slow burn, meet-the-characters type thing. Partridge really establishes feelings and emotional ranges. I think Mia Shaw’s face had me laughing by itself at like three or four points as she was clearly fed up with her situation. When things go boom, Partridge is still very much in control, but seeing the way characters’ faces shift with their emotions at such a meticulous level was my favorite part of the art.
Colorist Vladimir Popov really does some heavy lifting in this issue too, and I think this might be the brightest Vault title out right now. The way that the color filters sort of change as we get introduced character to character was INCREDIBLE.
In the end, I am just so excited to see where this book goes, and what else could you ask of a new debut?
Overall: Relics of Youth #1 is a solid debut. The mysteries in this story are only increasing in both volume and difficulty, and we have a set of interesting characters who are in for a hell of a time. 8.5/10
Relics of Youth #1
Writers: Matt Nicholas & Chad Rebmann
Artist: Skylar Patridge
Colorist: Vladimir Popov
Letterer: Andworld Design
Publisher: Vault Comics
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Jarred A. Luján makes comics, studies existential philosophy, and listens to hip-hop too loudly. For bad jokes and dog pictures, you can follow him on Twitter.