Tales From Nottingham #1
Illustrated by: Shane Connery Volk
Written by: David Hazan
Mad Cave Studios
Tales from Nottingham explores untold stories from the twisted universe of Nottingham, including the secret origins of Robin Hood and the Merry Men, Marian’s violent past, Aya of the Hashashin’s first kill, and an ordeal that will shake Friar Tuck to his core. Never-before-seen mysteries confront Everard Blackthorne, the Sheriff of Nottingham, culminating in an investigation that will lead directly into the climactic events of Nottingham Vol. 3.
This anthology reunites Nottingham series creators David Hazan and Shane Connery Volk, while also bringing diverse new talent into the world of Nottingham, including Eisner and GLAAD nominated writer Magdalene Visaggio (Kim & Kim, Eternity Girl, Doctor Mirage).
Legend has it that in April 1192, Conrad of Montferrat, the King of Jerusalem was felled by two assassins. It was later learned that this was an attempt to sow discord amongst the crusading nations by blaming the killing on Richard the Lionheart. One assassin was captured and died in captivity…The other escaped the Crusaders’ grasp. This is the story of Aya’s first assignment. This is the story of the day she truly became… Hashashin (Chronology: Takes place in April 1192).
Tales from Nottingham is a new anthological series from Mad Cave Studios set in the universe of the acclaimed medieval noir series, Nottingham. Written and drawn by creators David Hazan and Shane Connery Volk, the series will lead into the next volume of Nottingham. Issue #1 kicks off with a historical case, the assassination of Conrad I, Crusader King of Jerusalem, and the story of the trained killers that committed it.
This series is not for newcomers, but rather targetted to existing fans of the Nottingham universe. As such, I did my due diligence and read some of Nottingham Vol 1 to receive at least some of the appropriate background for this review. This first issue may not have needed it, as it does not center the Sheriff, but it tells the origin of one of the charactere from Nottingham Vol 2. The issue is heavy in narration and the story is told more like a folk tale. Fans of Batman or Alan Moore may enjoy the Nottingham formula, not only for the noir mystery elements, but also for the narration style, character archetypes, and art.
Shane Vonnery Volk’s art coupled with Luca Romano’s coloring is perfectly fit for a book like this. The warm tones and bright reds pull the reader back into the Middle Ages and into the Third Crusade. I can see influences from the likes of Greg Capullo in Volk’s line work. My only criticism would be in the way Aya is drawn. She is drawn a bit too sexualized for my taste, especially for a Muslim woman. This is contrary to Hamza, who is also drawn in a sexual setting, but is not hypersexualized the same way despite being given a heroic figure. I otherwise enjoy the character designs. I particularly appreciate the way Volk draws flowing fabrics and textures.
I’ll be continuing my foray into the Nottingham universe with Death and Taxes. For folks already immersed in this world and eagerly anticipating the third volume, Tales is a must-read.
A new installment in the Nottingham universe
A worthy addition to the Nottingham fan's longbox.