DOMINION: Fall of the House of Saul, Chapter 1 (Review)

Thanks to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the indie comics scene is more varied and vibrant than ever. The quality of some indie titles is truly staggering, including certain Christian and family-friendly comics. The team over at Terminus Media have produced a truly magnificent piece of narrative art in DOMINION: Fall of the House of Saul. Created, written, and illustrated by Dr. Barron Bell, with colors by Christopher Hunt, and inks by Hunter Riggs, DOMINION is a feast for the eyes and an engrossing read. Sci-fi and fantasy fans take note: This is a title to watch.

The inspirations for DOMINION are obvious. The book bills itself as part Star Wars, part The Chronicles of Narnia and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a space opera in the classic mold of Star Wars or Dune but its universe is populated solely by anthropomorphic animals. The story is heavily inspired by the events of the first book of Samuel in the Holy Bible. The various biblical figures, including King Saul, Prince Jonathan, and the prophet Samuel have been given animal forms. The royal family are lions, of course, and Samuel himself is a crow or raven.

All of the artwork is superb! The glorious illustrations pull you into the world and narrative right away. The quality of this comic is top-notch. Full disclosure here, I have not read the book of 1 Samuel but this comic has certainly piqued my interest in exploring the original biblical source.

Speaking of the story, let’s talk about that.

***SPOILERS For DOMINION: Fall of the House of Saul #1 to follow!***

Chapter One opens with a flashback dream sequence as King Saul relives the stunning rebuke he received from Samuel, the high priest of the Almighty. Saul, because of his pride and disobedience, no longer has the favor of the Almighty, despite his victories in battle. Samuel prophesies that Saul’s kingdom will be taken from him and given to someone after the Almighty’s own heart.

Even a cursory knowledge of biblical history should clue the reader in to this reference to King David, and I assume future issues will build up to David’s appearance. In the meantime, the Dominion is beset by troubles. Its borders are under threat by the aggressive and expansionist Philistines. The Seraphim Marines (shock troops in mech power armor) respond to a distress call at the Dominion’s Libnah Outpost. They arrive to find the outpost and all its defenses annihilated. Strange energy readings and physical traces indicate that the facility was destroyed by the Goliath “Ultra-Mech” (obviously a reference to the biblical giant Goliath of Gath).

Here’s where things start to get really interesting! Prince Jonathan urges deploying the Dominion’s space fleet to the borders but the king’s advisors speak against this, believing Goliath to be a hoax designed to weaken their defenses. The tension between the king and the prince is palpable! Saul angrily rejects his son’s advice, reviling him as a mere child. Clearly Saul feels threatened by his son and is insecure in his position, still brooding over Samuel’s admonition about divine displeasure.

Jonathan is already my favorite character. His internal struggle to balance his true self with his duties and obligations to his family and kingdom is very relatable. His mother attempts to comfort him but the prince is haunted by a confrontation with his father in the aftermath of battle; a confrontation that almost turned deadly! On this ominous note the issue ends, leaving the reader eager to know more.

***END of SPOILERS***

DOMINION: Fall of the House of Saul #1 is an impressive debut issue that can be enjoyed by sci-fi and fantasy fans of all ages! The art is spectacular and the story is an entertaining adaptation of the biblical narrative. The main cast, particularly King Saul and Prince Jonathan are multi-faceted and well-realized characters. The ending left me excited to read the next issue and curious about picking up my Bible and exploring the original Old Testament source material. I highly recommend this comic. Regardless of your religious background, it is top-tier science-fantasy that shouldn’t be missed.

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