Panelology is a weekly podcast about comics. We talk about current books, what we're looking forward to, and how to get into reading comics in the first place.

Green Valley (Image Comics, 2016; #1-9)

Green Valley.jpeg

Once an elite—if unconventional—fighting force, the Knights of Kelodia answer a call to save the nearby hamlet of Green Valley from an evil wizard and his dragons.  They expect an easy victory since wizards and dragons don’t actually exist—so imagine their surprise when they arrive to find a hole in the sky, a strange man whose magic slate lets him cast lighting and put up a shield, and scaly monsters doing his bidding.  With their world shaken and their skills in doubt, they have to find some way to save the day or accept the ignominy of their defeat.

Max Landis has a lot of balls in the air in Green Valley.  At the most basic level, he leverages fantasy tropes to blend in other genre elements.  That, in turn, lets him tell a story about heroes who not only face defeat, but must reckon with a foe whose abilities and resources they can, at best, only tenuously understand.  Establishing such an overwhelming, incomprehensible force, in turn, allows Landis to challenge his characters in ways that draw out their greatest weaknesses.  They not only must reconcile their self-doubts, regrets, and shortcomings, but they also have to overcome a kind of toxic masculinity.  The Knights of Kelodia are known throughout the land.  Their exploits are the stuff of legend, often exaggerated in both their own storytelling and others’ recounting of their tales.  The greatest threats they face are their own ego and lack of honesty with themselves and one another in light of their reputations.

With art from Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Green Valley is gorgeous.  Every panel is richly detailed, with clean, representational linework.  It exudes emotionality and expression.  And Beaulieu turns in radiant, lush color work that brings the world to life.

If you’re into fantasy stories of any stripe, you should check out Green Valley.  It would be a great fit for fans of comics like Reborn or Birthright.  Like those books, it’s beautiful, tightly written, and focuses on emotional realism in its fantastical setting.

Collected in

  • Green Valley (#1-9)


Writer: Max Landis | Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli | Inker: Cliff Rathburn | Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu | Letterer: Pat Brosseau | Assistant Editor: Arielle Basich | Editor: Sean Mackiewicz

X-23: Innocence Lost (Marvel Comics, 2005; #1-6)

American Vampire: The Beast in the Cave (Vertigo, 2010; #19-21)