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I need help shortlisting forms/silhouettes from this bunch of thumbnails. I have my preferred ones which I refined a bit more than the others. But I thought I should still get feedback from this community before proceeding to do the details.
BRIEF: This is for a character called "Vereo the Dreaded". It's for a fantasy fiction my friend is writing. Just a quick background, so that you can give the most helpful critique --
>He's the most formidable enemy in the story.
>This is the general of an Empire that employs the dark arts in its military power. He leads a special group of Knights who specialize in using magic instead of melee. The knights all wear masks, too, btw. I want the masks to be a cohesive part of the army's design.
>He doesn't call the shots per se. (i.e. he's not the manipulative, scheming enemy) He just follows the King's orders and leads an army of powerful magician knights. The type of enemy whose arrival makes the protagonists go "Oh shit. We're dead."
>General design treatment: My friend (who's writing the story) and I agreed to go for a more Eastern treatment. Since the Dreaded army uses more magic than melee, we felt an Eastern/Oriental feel seemed to convey more mysticism than Western Medieval armor which initially registers brute force more than magic. NOT TOO SAMURAI-esque though!
>Powers: Vereo the Dreaded can basically suck souls. The souls that become part of him become evil shades that he can use to attack. A soul that becomes a shade is in a disturbed state and it needs to make a kill before it can peacefully pass over to the afterlife.
>We also wanted to avoid making the Dreaded look like something out of Mordor. Same level of evil vibe, ideally. But design-wise, we're avoiding a Sauron look.
>PS. He has a weapon, too, and it's alive in a Transformers sort of way. It's a composite weapon that assembles -- can be an ax, sword, morningstar, halberd, etc, assembling/dissasembling depending on the user's needs. I'm still drawing that. Let's focus on the Dreaded's armor/body first.
If anyone can suggest anything, thank you! Again, just wanted initial feedback at this thumbnail stage, before I do more detailed work. I indicated my preferred design, but if you think any of the other shapes have potential, kindly say so, so I can maximize my options. Suggestions for armor details are also most welcome. Thank you!
Here are the thumbnails!