Battlecats is and, for me, will always be the flagship series in the Mad Cave Studios pantheon. From the lush and fertile kingdom of Valderia to the multi-faceted anthropomorphic species that inhabit it. Mark London and co definitely hit a mark that drew in fandom aching for the heyday of Battletoads, Biker Mice from Mars and those heroes in a half shell. What animal were they again?
Off the back of their series’ success comes Tales of Valderia #1. The first issue to a (sort of) spin off comic book that will further expand on the world of Valderia. What had made and shaped the world. To expand and to backdoor retcon a fantasy world that hasn’t been as fully explored as you, the fan, would like.
Half Anthology, Half Encyclopaedia
From the pitch, Mad Cave Studios promises this to be an anthology series. What we’ve got, initially, is a half comic book, half encyclopaedic effort.
Don’t get me wrong, the comic book portion of this issue succeeds in everything it sets out to do. We are greeted by an evil wizard who has become corrupted by the very pure magics he sort out to control. Sound familiar anyone?
But what comes next is a text book like description of each of the Valderian kings that have followed. Their faults, their fears. Their triumphs, their tribulations. All from the porthole of a supposed royal scribe.
Comic Book Real Estate
To me, this is a waste of comic book real estate. While it’s sort of clever in its approach to linking the two forms of comic book literature. It does break away from what Mad Cave Studios has set to do: create anthologies. I don’t need a text book to learn about these characters. What I need is for that knowledge to come from exploration of an already established rich landscape.
Before you get your claws out! I applaud Mad Cave Studios for trying something different here. Tales of Valderia still promotes a certain degree of intrigue. But that intrigue could’ve been explored in the pages of a second story. Next time, give me a story about one of those three kings. You pointed out the flaws of the 2nd king. His vanity, his search for fame, his self appointed exile. Give me that story and the somber lessons learned. Unfortunately, the second half of this issue lost me.
Battlecats: Tales of Valderia #1 is available wherever you get your comics from February 5th, 2020.