What is Battlecats?
Battlecats is the first comic series by independent publisher Mad Cave Studios. The series is a medieval fantasy that feels inspired by traditional class-based role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and a certain 80’s syndicated cartoon featuring a team of feline humanoids on a distant planet. The series is rated T+ for teens and adults.
Who is the creative team behind Battlecats?
Battlecats is written by Mad Cave CEO and COO Mark London. The artwork is by Andy King (issues #1 though #4) and Michael Camelo (issue #5). Alejandro Giraldo and Julian Gonzalez serve as colorists. Miguel Zapata and Christian Ospina are the letterers on the series.
What did you think of Battlecats?
First, the artwork in this book is fantastic. The characters are distinct and their personalities come across well in their design. The colors help build the atmosphere, whether it’s a serene and spiritual scene like the page presented above, or a blood mist/fog of war type of scene as in the page below. King, Camelo, Giraldo, and Gonzalez absolutely knock it out of the park in terms of the look of the book.
Next, the world-building and mythology are deep and feel well worn. From the first issue, the characters are referencing events that have taken place prior to when we meet them, but in a natural, conversational sort of way. The fourth issue really takes a step back and examines the setting and the lore, which is certainly interesting but not altogether groundbreaking. Don’t take that comment as a slight. Rather, that speaks to the universality of myth that London is tapping into, modifying it to his setting in this story. It is very much in the same vein as “unite the tribes” in Avatar: The Last Airbender or “gather all the stones” in Avengers: Infinity War.
Issue #5 serves as the ending of the first volume of the story, which began with the Battlecats, an elite group of warriors from all across this alien world, being sent on a very RPG-style quest by the king to slay the Dire Beast. Throughout the first four issues, a looming threat has been gaining strength, a harbinger of bad news for the entire world and one character in particular. In this issue, the initial quest is resolved, but in a way that none of the parties involved ever foresaw nor intended, leaving the story on a cliffhanger that will have fans anxious for the second volume in the series.
One aspect of the story that I find particularly interesting is that in the fourth issue, we are given a very idealized version of the lore surrounding the planet, its society, and the current king. In this fifth issue, it feels as though that while the facts stated are likely true, the telling of them to a potential Battlecat recruit were spun in a “state propaganda” sort of way. The way the sitting king was portrayed in issue four in no way resembles the king–the same king–we see at the end of this volume. This king has been on the receiving end of a beating (he is still bandaged from it) and if he ever really was that benevolent ruler, then much has happened that has changed him, and I’m hoping we’ll see that revealed in later issues.
I had a chance to talk with London about Battlecats as a segment for Pop Goes the Culture podcast. You can listen to that interview at the end of this post.
When will Battlecats #5 be released?
Battlecats #5 releases today, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. The collected first volume (issues #1 through #5) will be released on July 25, 2018.
Where can I buy Battlecats?
Battlecats #5 can be purchased at your local comic shop. If they don’t have it in stock, just ask and they can generally get any of the issues for you that you want. Seriously, buy local if you can.