title: the forgotten queen
writer: tini howard
artist: amilcar pinna
genre: fantasy
target audience: adult
content warnings: violence, war, blood
my rating: do not recommended

i received an earc of this from the publisher, through edelweiss. this has not impacted my thoughts or opinions.

the forgotten queen is a four issue limited series that first came out in february to may of this year, and the collected edition will be available in comic shops on august 14th. it tells the tale of vexana, an immortal who brings out the bloodlust in people wherever she goes. the comic switches between flashbacks to her life hundreds – and at one point, thousands – of years ago, and to current time where a group of scientists and historians are brought face to face with her wrath.

i have been interested in picking this up for months and months, ever since i saw the first issue advertised in the previews catalogue. i never actually got around to getting it, tho, so when i saw it available on edelweiss i jumped on the chance. i thought the concept sounded really promising – an angry and immortal woman who travels the world and brings men to their knees. unfortunately, i ended up pretty disappointed.

firstly, what attracted me to this comic to begin with was the main character, vexana. i thought she would be this really interesting immortal being, full of anger and hatred, traveling from people to people in search for something or with some kind of purpose. in reality, she – and all other characters – fell flat. there is not really any believable emotion or motivation in anyone, and we’re not given any chance or reason to care enough about anyone to bat an eye when they are killed, or disappear for some other reason. the interactions between everyone felt forced, and several times there are pages and pages of character a revealing something important to character b, but it’s always something secret or personal that it really doesn’t make sense that they’d tell to that person. the reason is obviously to let the reader in on this piece of information, but they way we’re given it feels so unnatural and stiff.

the story also felt incredibly rushed. we jump from point to point, and often it feels like things happen between panels. this is partially due to the overall writing, and partially due to the art. i did enjoy the jumping back and forth between present time and flashbacks, but i also think that this story easily could have just been one about vexana 800 years ago, without the current time storyline. the main purpose of those parts of the comics seemed to mostly be to tell us, the readers, about vexana, as the scientists learned more about her.

i definitely think that the forgotten queen could have benefitted from being spread out over a few more single issues, instead of just four. with the length it has, it didn’t really have time to explore anything beyond a two-dimensional surface level. there’s vexana, her falling in love (which i hesitate to call love, because there was no build up or emotion put into it), finding out more about her family, and maybe even developing a bit as a person if given the time. there’s the group of scientists in present time, who we could get to know better. what were they to each other? who are they?

so, unfortunately i did not enjoy the forgotten queen. it had a lot of potential in my opinion, but in the end it fell flat in most aspects. it was unengaging, i didn’t care about any of the characters, and so much of the dialogue was just unnatural sounding exposition. i honestly wouldn’t recommend you bother picking it up.

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