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RANGERS OF THE DIVIDE #1 [Advance Review]

RANGERS OF THE DIVIDE #1/ Created by MEGAN HUANG/ Published by DARK HORSE COMICS

The nation-states of Ryllion and Veil have been at war with one another for as long as anyone can remember. Yet there is one thing the rivals share besides a border – support for the ancient order known as the Rangers of the Divide. The only peacekeepers among the wild lands between Veil and Ryllion, only the direst of circumstances can allow these dragon-riding warriors to abandon their patrols.

Alas, those circumstances have now arisen, leaving one outpost full of Ranger cadets who have yet to complete a single mission and a veteran commander, passing through on his own quest, thrown into a mentorship role he has no time to assume and even less inclination to take up. Still, Commander Knight will not abandon the greenhorns, though he doubts their ability to survive where he must go and his own ability to teach them how to be Rangers.

Place Geralt of Rivia in charge of Aang and his friends as they navigate Pern, and you might have some idea of what Rangers of the Divide is like. Megan Huang’s characters fall into the standard stock roles we’ve seen in other fantasy tales – the old soldier whose gruff demeanor hides a heart of gold, the bold rookie determined to prove her worth, the haughty newcomer who seems equally likely to turn traitor or become the bold rookie’s respected rival before the end of the story. We’ve seen this before, but Huang adds just enough individual touches to the characters to make them distinguishable, as the setting of her world is established.

The setting itself is notable as a fusion of fantasy and magic, with HUD displays existing alongside dragon mounts. It reminds me a bit of Thundercats and Masters of the Universe – a feeling enhanced by Huang’s gorgeous artwork. In the distance, her pages look like they came from a storybook. In the close-ups, they look like stills from the kind of animated series I loved as a kid and some of the better fantasy anime that exist today, only with more vivid coloration. All in all, I think fantasy fans will find Rangers of the Divide to be a worthy addition to the genre.

Rangers of the Divide #1 releases on May 19th, 2021.

rating 4

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