Protector #1 wastes no time thrusting the reader into the story of Mari, a runaway slave who stumbles upon a dormant high tech security system while trying to evade her captors. The latter half of the book whisks the reader off to the Hudsoni Capital, where clerics and other high ranking officials strike a bargain with an otherworldly force known as a Deva in order to halt the destruction of Shikka-Go (there’s a lot of post-apocalypse world play in this book). This feels like a great jumping-off point for the series– the origins of the machine Mari has awakened and the true nature of the “Devas” are both immediately intriguing and undoubtedly connected. Between the worldbuilding and the current plot threads, there’s a lot to look forward to in future installments.

The series is being touted as a combination of Conan the Barbarian, Mad Max, and The Expanse. While the basis for comparison is clear, Protector sets itself apart from its influences quickly and manages to carve out its own identity within the first issue. At its core, Protector is a far-future fantasy series told through the aftermath of a technological apocalypse. Society has reverted to a system akin to that of pre-colonial tribal nations– the first issue only introduces the Hudsoni and the Yanqui, but the section at the end of the book which details the other tribes of the Canadian Shield makes the world of Protector feel much larger than the narrative alone.

The art of Protector is an indispensable part of the story– everything from character wardrobe to architectural influences in the Hudsoni Capital seem carefully crafted. The end result is an evocative glimpse at a North America that has returned to tribal traditions after the modern-day. The series visually draws from several cultures’ customs to create a setting which is its own strange melting pot. In any given panel there are elements inspired by several indigenous North American peoples, as well as extensive artistic influence from East Asia. The color palette is a bit washed out at times, but this was clearly intentional and lends more to the post-apocalyptic nature of the story. I’m excited to see where Protector goes next.

For more information please visit the official site at https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/protector-1