What I enjoy about independent comics is the amount of freedom writers have to explore different genres or bring them together. History and fantasy are two of my favourite subjects, so any story that combines them gives me something to invest in. It’s why I was interested in reading Donnie Souza’s Untold #1, which is set in a World War 2 era world where humans, elves and other fantastical creatures are fighting side by side. Untold deals with themes of patriotism, post-traumatic stress disorder, racism and what it means to come home after a long time fighting. Souza sent a copy of Untold #1 to The Comic Vault in exchange for an honest review.
The comic follows former soldier Buchanan Daniels, who survived an attack on his regiment, but is still dealing with the trauma. Daniels describes the incident to his psychiatrist in vivid detail about how he was serving with a group of elves, but he was one of the few who made it back. Daniels spends his days drinking in a bar and refusing calls to work for Council Woman Monaghan, a powerful political figure within the city who is pushing for change. Daniels remains wary of her intentions, preferring to put his trust in the people who he fought with during the war.
Daniels is surrounded by a colourful cast, such as a bartending orc and a fast-talking archer called Nori. The fact that humans are living alongside other species is an interesting approach, with many characters dressed in period accurate clothing. Reading the comic reminded me of the Netflix film, Bright, which I also enjoyed.
Daniels comes off as a sympathetic lead because of his experiences. PSTD is a common mental illness that’s felt by many soldiers when they come back from active duty. Souza’s choice to show that in the comic is admirable and the issue is treated with respect. This also feeds into a larger theme of war veterans struggling to readjust to civilian life. Although they were treated as heroes for their service, a lot of them can’t find jobs.
The art, drawn by Ana Zee, is extremely pretty, showcasing the different creatures that inhabit the world of Untold. The elves have an elegant quality to them, while the orcs are brutish and intimidating. The environments are also stunning, with my favourite sequence involving a boat filled with soldiers staring at the sun rise.
Untold #1 could have focused on world building alone, yet there’s an interesting story that ends with a cliff hanger. Throw in a historical rich setting with quirky characters and you have an impressive debut from a team who are clearly passionate about the comic medium. If you’re a history buff or fantasy geek then I’d recommend checking Untold #1 out and you can buy it now on Souza’s website.