Upon reading Compass the first time through, one can feel that it’s steeped in history; the details about the places and people don’t feel made up (and, in many instances, they are not), but it’s also steeped in the love of Indiana Jones, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and other adventures rooted in the joy of discovery. And in the notes following the story, the writers – Robert Mackenzie and David Walker – make specific reference to Mysterious Cities of Gold, also a show I grew up on!
It’s 1242, and in the first few pages, we’re introduced to an Arab woman named Shahida. She’s a scholar, but she also doing a little raiding of a castle to find a certain item. Using her physical prowess, she survives a few tricky situations. Brought to visceral life by Justin Greenwood and colored beautifully by Daniela Miwa, these first few pages set a great tone and pace for the story. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and we’re introduced to a shifting landscape by way of a hidden villain called the Horselord who has someone working for them, a woman of equal intelligence and cunning to Shahida named Ling Hua. Ling is Belloq to Shahida’s Indiana Jones.
And the journey begins, following Shahida into a landscape she no longer recognizes, seeking out allies where there may be none. This story is off to a great start.
First of all, two smart women lead characters: yes and yes. Bringing us into a world that is a perfect blend of fact and fantasy: yes and yes. Really sharp dialogue that expresses both exposition and character: yes and yes. A historical adventure: yes and yes. I’ve grabbed the Fedora I bought from Disneyland and am ready for the ride to commence!
Creative Team: Robert MacKenzie & David Walker (writers), Justin Greenwood (art), Daniela Miwa (colors), Simon Bowland (letters), Eric Trautman (logo and design), Alejandro Arbona (editor), Greg Rucka (presented by)
Publisher: Image Comics
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