Created by Shaun Keenan
Written by Michael Gordon, Stephen Kok, Austin Hamblin, Hannu Kesola and Ben Rosenthal
Illustrated by Eddie Nunez, Von Randal, Lauren Marshall, Michel Muliploa, Alex Malyshev and Mark Lauthier.
Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!!!
Strap yourself in folks as we are back with the latest instalment of: XTREME CHAMPISONSHIP TOURNAMENT with XCT Most Wanted. This issue is an original stand-alone six-part anthology based within the XCT Universe featuring stories of Greek Vindication, a Daughter’s promise and Taniwha hunting. We begin things with;
ACHILLIES AND ENYO
Written by Michael Gordon
Art by Eddie Nunez
Ever wonder what that infamous ‘Police station’ scene in THE TERMINATOR would have played out like if Arnold’s Character was switched from a human-destroying Cyborg to a Greek Mythological Hero?
Well me either, but that’s what we get here in Michael Gordon’s fun, action packed slaughterhouse (police) ACHILLIES AND ENYO. As the titular character Achilles and his Lover-for-the-ages Enyo seek to punish those who are failing to up hold the ‘common good’ in a bone crunching statement. Gordon’s pace and dialect for the chapter move the story along nicely, with enough background given to understand our main character’s motivations and passion behind their ‘noble’ cause. While Nunez’ character designs and action scenes make for some of the strongest art in the anthology. Overall it’s a great little action snippet of a story that makes the reader looking forward to more from our out-of-time heroes.
SIR GALLOWAY AND THE LAST DRAGON
Written by Stephen Kok
Art by Von Randal
A Daughter’s word to her dying Father is unbreakable and the second story in this XTC Anthology sees the reader following our Main Character searching for proof that a tale she was told as a child is indeed true. Half shown in flashback to a time long forgotten and half in the current XCT timeline, this story by writer Stephen Kok shuffles along at a nice pace as the legend of Sir Galloway’s battle with a mighty Dragon unfolds. The artwork by Randal is detailed and gritty which suits the story to a tea and wraps up nicely to make it a strong one-off addition.
THRYMR OF THE FRONT GIANTS
Written by Stephen Kok
Art by Lauren Marshall
If revenge is a dish best served cold, then no other story suits the feast as much this. Writer Stephen Kok returns for his second addition to the anthology with this tale of revenge, deceit and resurrection as we are shown the origin of Thrymr of the Frost Giants and how he came into the XCT Universe. The pace is fast and smooth as we get a glimpse in the life of a Frost Giant and Marsha’s art is clean and stylistic with great action and a design that is easy on the eyes.
KHAN THE GREATEST
Written by Austin Hamblin
Art by Michel Mulipoa
In this brutal entry from Writer Hamblin we get a glimpse into the life of the savage Genghis Khan. From his antics on and off the battlefield, to his strive to become the greatest warrior there is, Hamblin does well to bring depth to the character that we all know but probably not so well.
Mulipoa’s character designs and fierce battles help the story move nicely along the panels and readers are in for a treat when two of History’s greatest Generals square off in a battle with a violent climax!
LEGEND OF THE TANIWHA
Written by Hammu Kesola
Art by Alex Malyshev
When a grotesque Sea-Creature washes ashore in Auckland the papers go into frenzy, with claims that the Legends of the Taniwha are true. Are these claims correct or is it just another case of a fabricated story to sell papers?
Writer Kesola does a great job with introducing the aforementioned Monster in what I believe to be the strongest entry in this collection. His characters converse fluidly and after giving us a nice little background to the Beast, things take a surprising turn straight into full blown action scene. Malyshev’s character design, especially of the Taniwha look great and the flashback scene panels are really strong. The pair of Writer and Artist compliments each other really well and I look forward to their next collaboration as well as finding out what comes next for not only the Taniwha but our Hunter also.
MIYAMOTO MUSASHI AND THE TENGU
Witten by Ben Rosenthal
Art by Mark Lauthier
The final tale is this XCT collection sees Writer Rosenthal bring us a story of the Infamous Miyamoto Musashi engaging in an epic battle with The Tengu as he tries to rid the evil from a small Village.
The pace of the story glides as smoothly as Musashi’s blade across the panels and the writing captures Japan’s most famous Samurai nicely. The dialogue between the Swordsman and Demon is written well and the last panels of the story take us in a surprisingly original direction. Lauthier’s artwork is strong, and his ability to capture the progression of the battle is impressive.
After five rounds of brutal battles, surprising twists and glorious artwork we go to the judges for a winner;
XCT Most Wanted is a great collection of Short Stories that I found really enjoyable to read. The artwork is strong across the book as Writers and Artists of all the entries work well together and LEGEND OF THE TANIWHA really sticks out as the highlight of the collection.
I can’t wait for the rematch!