In the American West of 1883, the Wraith is a mysterious hero with a dark past who is relentlessly driven to administer the wrath of God on the evil supernatural forces that contaminate the land. He is the Wraith of God.
The Wraith is a master of illusion and disguise and is aided by a former Salvation Army worker named Esther who frequently finds herself at odds with her mentor. It’s a race against time and death as together they try to stop a pack of werewolves from obtaining a mystical amulet that will make them invincible.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Wraith of God is created by Aaron Lopresti, a 30-year veteran of the comic book (Marvel’s Planet Hulk, X-Men, and Ms. Marvel or DC Comics Wonder Woman and Justice League).
Lopresti first published work of note was the Malibu Comics title Sludge, in 1993. He has since gone on to illustrate such titles as Marvel’s X-Men, Captain Marvel, Planet Hulk, and Ms. Marvel and was the artist for DC’s Wonder Woman. He drew covers for both Adventure Comics and Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton, as well as interior art for Justice League: Generation Lost.
Lopresti was amongst the new creative talent running DC Comics’ The New 52 relaunch in 2011, becoming the penciler of the new Justice League International series, working with writer Dan Jurgens. In addition to working for Marvel and DC Aaron also worked for Dark Horse Comics, CrossGen Comics, and Image Comics. Aaron is also the writer and illustrator of the Wraith of God.
The main story is colored by Gabe Eltaeb and lettered by Warren Montgomery. There are 3 covers (covers A, B &C) illustrated and colored by Aaron Lopresti. One virgin cover (cover D) with art by Dale Keon which is also the title page for the epilogue story, colored by Gabe Eltaeb. The back cover art is done by Don Edwards and the book was assembled by Kurt Hathaway.
Wraith of God is an 82-page book has a softcover printed on quality paper in full color. The book has an intro, a thank you page, 75-pages of the main story, a 3-page epilogue story on Garbage Man and Night Club plus a black & white epilogue cover page with art by Dale Keon, a page with details about Empire comics and an ad page for the Lopresti-verse.
The Wraith of God Roughs is an art book that shows you how the story was created. I got the main cover (cover A), Cover C, the Wraith of God Rough’s art book, and the Garbage Man paperback. The main book and the art book are published by Empire Comics owned by Mr. Lopresti. The Garbage Man trade paperback was published n 2021 by Dark Horse.
The story takes place in the American West. The Wraith of God is a mysterious, supernatural vigilante fighting against a clan of werewolves that are terrorizing the frontier lands. The Wraith represents the embodiment of God’s wrath on earth and uses divine powers, and sanctified weapons to eliminate the creatures. He’s also a master of disguise and an excellent fighter.
The Wraith is accompanied by his steed Gabriel and Esther, who joins forces with the Wraith after losing an important person in her life. The fight against the werewolves turns challenging when they learn about a magical relic that will grant the beasts eternal life. Will they be able to acquire the relic before the beasts or will the beasts become invincible?
The structure of the story is so good it gets you engaged from the beginning with tremendous action sequences. You get to see the great look of the wraith on page 2. The story has many mysteries that get addressed. As a standalone book, I think it’s a great option to share with others.
The epilogue hints at a larger story but the main story of the book is written in such a way that it is contained to one issue. Unlike others who leave open endings or incomplete stories, this one is a solid contained story. It is a great option to share with friends.
The problem with these independent stories so far is that it takes so long for creators to continue their stories. By the time they do, in some instances, I have lost interest in the IP. And if you want to share the book with friends, it is a difficult sale when there is no continuation. This is not the case with Wraith of God. Being a Western-centric story with supernatural elements, it’s an attractive and intriguing plot that is easy to share with others.
What I love about the book is that the art (pencils & ink) is done the traditional way with paper, pencils/pens/markers. The creator, Aaron Lopresti, has a YouTube channel where you can see how he creates his art. He focuses on his art style but also shares knowledge about the art industry.
Unlike other creators that focus so much on the mainstream comics they criticize, Mr. Lopresti focuses on his art creations and offers unique content in my opinion. It has been difficult to share videos of independent creators with people that are not familiar with the American comic book industry.
Most of their videos are mostly 80 to 90% about the American comic book industry and pop culture and 20 to 10% about their own books. Call me crazy but I think it should be the other way around. They should put their own Ips at the front. Make videos talking about your characters, the universe, and the timeline, there is so much that can be shared, and it will make it easier for people to recognize the IP.
The problem so far with independent creators is the continuation of their stories. Sometimes it takes years to know how the story continues. And let’s be honest, some people lose interest by then or won’t even engage until there are several issues available.
Even though you have the feeling that the main story of Wraith of God will continue, the first issue addresses most of the mysteries, which in my opinion is a great strategic decision. It’s easier to share this story with newbies. And adding the epilogue is a brilliant move. It shows that not only does the Wraith of God stories continue but that there are more characters and stories to engage with such as The Garbage Man and Night Club.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
When I first saw the art of Wraith of God without knowing anything about the story, the character reminds me of Zorro and the Shadow. Later on, I learned it had nothing to do with Zorro, but I was still intrigued to know what the story is.
By the time I decided to crowdfund this campaign on Indiegogo, I decided first on the tier with the main cover and the garbage man, later on, I added cover C, the Wraith of God Roughs, the Wraith of God Ace trading card, a Wraith of God T-shirt and a beanie. Garbage Man is a separate story that is part of the Lopresti-verse. I will address the details in that book separately. All books received were signed.
Along with my orders, I also received some free stuff, what they call stretch goals on these campaigns, including:
- A thank you letter (which was very much appreciated).
- 6 stickers with Lopresti-verse characters
- An Empire Comics sticker
- An Esther Trading card
- A large print with the art of the next issue of “Wraith of God: Blood Hunters”
The products were not shipped in a bundle but separately. The beanie and the T-shirt came separately. The books & prints all came together in one package. The tracking number was provided via a US postal service but initially, I couldn’t identify where they belong to. It would be great if they could add who it comes from and the name of the product. I had issues with the beanie’s package at customs, but it was eventually solved.
Wraith of God is a great supernatural Western story with beautiful, detailed art that will keep you engaged till the very end. The Wraith is a menacing-looking character that wants to get the job done. Esther is determined to do her best to help the Wraith despite her doubts. The story includes religious elements linked to the origin of the Wraith and the reason why Esther is helping the Wraith. It’s not an easy black & white/ good vs evil story.
The good side is not white but grey while the evil side is completely black. When you have an unscrupulous opponent that is so toxic that it needs to be eliminated, the good side needs to have the courage to recognize that irreversible evil needs to be destroyed. The good side needs to learn the limits evil is willing to cross and not be naïve to believe that they won’t cross those limits. The good side also needs the strength to take action which in the case of the Wraith means eliminating the target. This is what the Wraith does effectively. He is more menacing than his opponents, which is great. His enemies are afraid of him.
As of date, the crowdfunding campaign is closed. There was a second chance campaign to get this first issue with a different cover but that campaign is also closed by now. The campaign for the second issue is still open on Indiegogo: Aaron Lopresti’s Wraith of God: Blood Hunters. Unfortunately, the first issue is not available on the campaign at the moment. I hope that eventually it will be available at the Empire Comics online store soon.