Updated: Sep 17
"Prince Jonathan and his co-pilot, Kit, embark on a covert mission to hold back the invading Philistine forces and turn the tide of the war. Meanwhile, King Saul's decision to withdraw the Royal Fleet from the outer ring planets inspires Princess Michal to leave the safety of the palace and find her true calling as a protector of the innocent on the crumbling DOMINION frontier.
DOMINION: Fall of the House of Saul is a Sci-Fantasy space opera inspired by the book of 1 Samuel in the Bible. Created by artist, writer, and college professor Dr. Barron R. Bell, DOMINION is a Biblical war reimagined for a new generation."
Dr. Barron Bell and his team at Terminus Media have been hard at work, diving deep into the world-building for their sci-fantasy series, DOMINION: Fall of the House of Saul. Now as you may remember, I reviewed Chapter One on The Daily Snap (check that out here) before it's debut last summer, and I had so many great things to say about it. Since that review, Chapter Two dropped on December 23rd of 2020, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Bell about the series on the Infinity Bros Podcast (which you can check out here). It pains me that I haven't yet written on Chapter Two, as I now am a full-blown biased supporter of Dr. Bell and this series, and it is the only current series that I have purchased physical issues of. I seek to rectify that injustice in this review, and I hope it inspires you to pick up copies of this wonderful indie comic for yourself, and other indie comics like it.
Fair warning: Spoilers for Chapter One and Two incoming.
So let's catch up a bit. Picture it - Dominion: a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Or something like that. A kingdom is on the brink of a full-fledged war, flirting with a foe that seems too large to overcome. Chapter One introduced us to a slew of characters: King Saul, who is slowly drifting from his original principles; Prince Jonathan, Saul's son who is a capable leader in the armed forces; and Samuel, the priest of the Almighty who is found reprimanding Saul at the beginning of the chapter. Throughout the first issue, we learn that King Saul will only listen to those who are close to him; which does not include Samuel, or even his own son Jonathan, who has been to the outer ring and seen what they are facing with his own eyes. At the end of the chapter, we find that the Philistine army has a powerful weapon at their disposal, which King Saul refuses to acknowledge. Prince Jonathan senses his father losing touch with reality, and seems to accept that he must take matters into his own hands. You can almost feel the looming darkness that has formed over the kingdom while in Saul's reign, and the tension between Jonathan and Saul is palpable when Chapter One comes to a close.
Chapter Two begins with a flashback from Prince Jonathan, of a daring undercover mission that he incepts and ultimately takes control of, despite resistance from his advisors. Jonathan knows that the King will not approve of this plan, but also is aware of his father's resistance to send aid to the outer ring planets. He knows what he must do to protect the inhabitants of Dominion, and he is willing to risk his life to do it; which is something King Saul has surely lost sight of. Jonathan acquires a Philistine transport and encases his own fighter inside, plotting to use the cover to reach the Philistine control center. Chapter Two does an amazing job of building the character of Prince Jonathan, but not only him; also, Princess Michal.
Princess Michal doesn't even appear in Chapter One, but her introduction in Chapter Two speaks even further to King Saul's descent into utter self-absorption. She feels ignored, even rejected by her father, and is aware of his failure to acknowledge the severity of the situation. She decides to take action instead of sitting idly in the palace, and travels to a planet under siege by the enemy of the Dominion. She is able to locate and rescue a group of survivors near a settlement, and as the final panel in the scenario appears, we see a glimpse of a mech that she may be planning to use to retaliate in her ship. The compassion that we see in Michal that is clearly devoid in King Saul is a glimmer of hope in this so far dark and dreary universe, and I'm excited to see more of her in further chapters.
"The Dominion border worlds are crumbling -- because of my father's decisions. How could I sit on the sidelines when it is within my power to set things right?" - Michal, Princess of Dominion
Unfortunately, Chapter Two ends before we see the resolution to both of these scenarios. We are left on two separate cliff hangers: the fate of Prince Jonathan and his co-pilot as they attempt to infiltrate enemy lines, and the response of Princess Michal to the plundering of a village by the Philistines. Now I've never been a huge fan of cliff hangers, but how can I not be excited for the next installment of this series?! Dr. Bell is taking the world-building seriously, as he should be, and creating a backstory that will be binge-worthy when the series comes to a close. The art is once again stunning, the Biblical allegory is interwoven into the story masterfully, and the background and context is meticulously being created before our eyes.
In our conversation on the Infinity Bros Podcast, Dr. Bell gave us some insight into the creation of DOMINION, and I was pleased to find that initially he had planned a three-issue series that after doing more brainstorming would eventually become too great for three measly issues. The Biblical book of 1 Samuel is a gold mine of comic book lore (among other books, as I mentioned on the podcast) that requires a deep dive into the intricacies of this universe that Dr. Bell has created. I'm ecstatic to hop on this train and ride it wherever it takes me, as long as the extreme quality of the series continues and fulfills the potential of the first two issues.
It's difficult for me to give any single issue a perfect score, and this is no exception. Chapter Two left me wanting more, and I now have to wait until April 2021 to get it. This chapter receives 5 out of 6 Infinity Stones from me, and I fully expect that score to rise as this series goes on. If you have not done so already, I implore you to check out this amazing comic book series, and support Dr. Bell and his team over at Terminus Media.
You can find physical and digital copies on the Terminus Media website, along with Chapter One being availaible on Comixology. Chapter three is set to arrive in April 2021.
Yeah...it's possible that I'm slightly biased. But I promise that Dr. Bell didn't pay me to write that.