Annihilation Part 1, the second book of the Saltire series bodes well for Diamond Steel Comics. The choice of Claire Roe as an artist with colouring by Lauren Knight sits better with a story that has strong influences of Hellenic and Celtic mythology than the art of Gary Welsh and Tone Julskjaer. This is not a criticism of the first book (I really enjoy their artwork), but my perception that the fey style of Claire suits the story better.
The story is that Scotland is under attack from the Angles and the Saxons under the rule of the Mercyan as they seek to expand their influence North through the strength of their sword arms and magic most foul. And the Guardians of Scotland must do battle with their enemies from outside the land to protect the weak and the innocent. They are the victims of this new enemy that does not acknowledge that there are those that you do not battle as it is little more than murder to destroy the weak.
Don’t think of this as a tale of baiting our Southern cousins from beyond Hadrian’s Wall as the intent is not to stir up a bigoted sentiment. If you need to have a hero, they must have an enemy and the battles between Rheged, Gododdin and the Kingdom of Strathclyde are fertile ground to pick from for an enemy of Scotland.
However, it is an attempt to create an identity that is miles from the Tartan Twee that seems to be associated with anything Caledonian. And that is an interesting attempt to make. I think it is worth reading for that reason alone.
I think that this is the better book as John Ferguson has shown that he is learning his craft as a storyteller and I look forward to his continued growth. And the use of artists whose style more accurately reflects the tenor adds to the tale.
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, go to Diamond Steel Comics