20 years after the last issue was published, a first look at the next issue of Joe Madureira's Battle Chasers series is here.
To say it's a long time coming would be an understatement, but here we are. Take a look:
As Madureira has previously said, he has passed artistic duties on Battle Chasers to another artist - in this preview it's Ludo Lullabi, a French artist who works with him at his video game company Airship Syndicate.
"Here's a peek at Battle Chasers #10 art by Ludo Lullabi!" Madureira writes on Instagram (opens in new tab). "Every page blows me away! It will be oversized with 32 full pages of story! [Battle Chasers: Nightwar (opens in new tab)] backers will of course get theirs, and it'll be available in shops later this year. Thank you for the love!"
Inspired by his '90s-era love for games like Final Fantasy 6, Suikoden, and Chronotrigger, Madureira's Battle Chasers is a sword & sorcery fantasy comic following a young girl named Gully in an attempt to find her missing father. In this quest, she is joined (like any D&D game or JRPG) by a party of warriors such as a swordsman (Garrison), a wizard (Knolan), a robot (Calibretto), and a wildcard mercenary (Red Monika).
In the late '90s, a fantasy comic that wasn't in the vein of Conan the Barbarian was pretty rare, making Battle Chasers a unique comic on shelves - helped in no small part by the dynamic manga-inspired work of Madureira, fresh off a run on Marvel's X-Men.
Battle Chasers was originally published from 1998 to 2001 through Image Comics, and each issue was among the top 10 selling comic books in that month - beating out almost all the franchise heavyweights from Marvel and DC. The tenth issue of Battle Chasers was announced and put up for order (before ultimately being canceled), but according to icV2 (opens in new tab) it was the 14th-highest-ordered comic book for the entire month with an estimated 60,860 orders.(opens in new tab)
Madureira returned to the franchise in 2015, announcing a crowdfunded video game called Battle Chasers: Nightwar from his just-launched video game company. Their Kickstarter was successful, by the time the game was finished it was picked up by all the major gaming platforms.
As part of that Kickstarter was the mention of resuming the Battle Chasers comic with Madureira writing and drawing the series, but he later said that he would need to enlist other artists to continue the series "any time soon."
"Unfortunately, it’s proven difficult to work on them alongside my responsibilities at the studio," Madureira said in 2019. "Issues #10-12 will pick up exactly where the last issue left off, and focus on Garrison, his past, and his complicated relationship with the fugitive Red Monika."
A collection of all nine Battle Chasers issues is available from Image Comics as Battle Chasers Anthology (opens in new tab); Madureira hasn't specified if these new issues will also be published by Image, or elsewhere.
The first nine issues of Joe Madureira's Battle Chasers are available digitally - but which platform is the best? Check out Newsarama's list of the best digital comics readers for Android and iOS devices.