He is bold. He is fierce. He is the hope of a nation. He is ginger. Meet Saltire, Scotland’s first superhero. He defends ancient Scotland from foreign nations that seek to claim this mythological nation as their own.
This book collects two books, Saltire Invasion and Saltire Inception. Book One deals with the ninth legion of Rome attempting to conquer the land of Scotland. Realising the threat that Rome poses upon life in Scotland, the Guardians of Scotland come together in a very Lord of the Rings way, with each warrior getting an introduction as they strike a pose. The warriors from the Highlands of Shadow to The Valley of Light, where the Romans are stationed, come together and summon the champion of Scotland… Saltire. Equipped with his indestructible Diamond Steel Blades, this warrior was born to fight. Saltire is an entirely blue being with blue tattoos covering his arms, looking like a powered up Kratos at all times. This idea immediately made me think that a Scottish mythological God going up against thousands of Roman soldiers is hardly fair… for the ordinary soldiers. Fears were countered as the Romans were able to summon their own Gods to assist them in battle. This allowed for some great and graphic action sequences.
Saltire Book Two gives us the origin tale to this new hero. Scottish warriors from the Highlands of Shadows and the Valley of Light had to sacrifice their lives in order to obtain Saltire. From their deaths the defender of Scotland was born. Realising this sacrifice, Saltire promises that he will always protect Scotland to the best of his ability and at all times. He is one of the very few Gods that have humbled themselves to the actions of man. This origin is shrouded heavily in mythology from the creation of his Diamond Steel Blades to the warriors and rituals. Saltire has taken the time to utilise Scottish mythology to its full potential. Not only does this chapter introduce you to a love interest, you also get to see just how he got an armoured up Unicorn!
The colours work well with the story. Although very sketchy and light it fits in with well with the story. It sets the tone for the dreamy like mythological visuals. When the action takes place colour becomes darker involving shades of gray and flashes of orange to accentuate the fact that this is war and not a peace party. The sketch-like nature of the imagery does affect facial expressions unfortunately, allowing detail to be lost in panels – especially in the faces of characters that are in the background.
Overall, Saltire is a great original concept of a hero that protects a nation. Unlike many of our mainstream superheroes that are limited to protecting cities, Saltire carries the hopes of his people as he seeks to honour those that have sacrificed themselves in his name. It is great to see new mythological ideas being explored as well. The Greeks, Romans and Norse have had their turn for years so this is a breath of fresh air within this genre. If you like the Lord of the Rings style of story-telling this book is definitely one for you.