On the nearby planet Mars, dinosaurs roam the lands, kingdoms and tribes clash, and the inhabitants are plagued by sorcery, greed, and evil. In search of a hero, the Mystics of the Blue looked away from their home world and towards Earth where they found the most unlikeliest of heroes. “A survivor, a champion of outrageous odds and a loner amidst a world that feared him… They found… Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman.” And so with that, I begin reading one of the most cleverly devised comics I’ve encountered in a while.
Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman, written by Josh Henaman and illustrated by Andy Taylor, is an action packed story that combines science fiction with traditional folklore and places it on the aforementioned red planet, Mars. On this planet, a primitive civilization thrives where a hierarchy of power exists in which the few sit on top while so many unwillingly slave away at the bottom. Shackled and whipped, we inexplicably find our hairy hero at the bottom of this totem pole. Despite his bruiting size and fury demeanor, Bigfoot isn’t seen as a monster but as just another creature to be enslaved along with a variety of other Martian inhabitants. From the very beginning, Bigfoot is referred to as the “Earthman” by the Martians (which is a bit ironic given the fact that he looks nothing like a traditional human from Earth and that he’s typically perceived as more of a monster than a man. Well played, Henaman.) Regardless of that, however, one thing remains constant: wherever he roams, no one puts Bigfoot in a cage. After teaming up with his fellow slave Castor, a Martian scribe, Bigfoot breaks free of his oppressor’s chains and sets out into the red wastelands, thus beginning his adventures with his new found friend.
Starting with its premise alone, Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman stands out in my mind for its new spin on an old legend. It takes the mythical creature away from its woodland home on Earth (an environment that we’re so used to imagining him in) and places him on an all together different planet, which oddly enough seems more appropriate for the beast. While this story puts Bigfoot at the center of attention, he remains as solemn and mysterious ever. This is amplified by the fact that this story is narrated by Castor and therefore turns the reader into a fellow observer of the man-ape.
Bigfoot never says a word and yet through Castor’s eyes, his actions speak volumes and his deeds are made heroic. As the story progresses, Bigfoot actually seems less of a beast and more of a bad ass cave warrior. On several occasions (one in particular involving a swarm of giant space bugs) Bigfoot puts his monstrous strength on display and the result is a bare-handed bloody smashing that would leave any Conan the Barbarian fan feeling quite satisfied.
In regards to the artwork, Taylor does a great job with his use thick lines, reserved details, and hard edges that almost give the panels somewhat of a cave painting feel to them. Warm overtones color each frame and they both accentuate the idea that this story is taking place on Mars as well as highlight Bigfoot’s big brown coat. It is the combination of these details that genuinely help set the mood for this book with a primal/hardcore edge. If I had to make a complaint about anything from this issue, however, it comes from the pacing of the story. I do believe that the creators did have a minor mis-step in one instance by leaving out the details of Bigfoot’s and Castor’s escape. While they were building up to the inevitable climax of his jail break, cutting away to his post escape scene rather than explicitly showing our hero bashing his way out felt a little flat, like something was missing (almost like a DJ creating a long build up and leaving the crowd with a disappointing drop.) But in the big scheme of things, it was a rather forgivable problem as the story continued.
Overall, Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1 is an entertaining read. While the plot may not seem very deep or complex, it doesn’t exactly need to be in order to successfully work. Its original concept and brutal action scenes are what will draw readers in and give them a reason to see Bigfoot in an entirely new light. Action packed and fun, this title is most definitely worth picking up. For more on Bigfoot and his Martian adventures, head on over to the comic’s website here.
So have you read Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman? What did you think of it? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!