Jun 27, 2008

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 4) - Honor or Life?

My Honor Is My Life

DC/Dragonlance comic, issue 4The story picks up shortly after the events of issue 3. Kitiara, top her dragon Skie, is leading her army, along with an unmounted red dragon, toward Castle Silvercrown.

Inside, Riva and Vandar are talking with Fizban, without getting much information out of the old wizard. Riva leaves, with the dragonlance that was recovered from the monestary of Majere in issue 1, to join up with the castle knights. She tries to bolster their spirits before the attack, but is quickly dismissed since she's a woman.

Meanwhile as Vandar and Fizban talk, the young boy, Tip, appears, happy the old wizard is still alive. As Vandar leaves to meditate on his own, Fizban questions weither or not Angriff really died the way Vandar remembered it (as seen in issue 3).

Outside, as the battle rages, Riva single-handedly kills the red dragon. This event turns the tied of the battle and instills the knights with renewed vigor. Just then, Kit arrives and launchs her attack on Riva.

Back inside, Vandar is deep in prayer. He looks at the Medallion of Majere as well as a sword mounted on the wall. He puts on the medallion and leaves the room.

Outside Riva is wounded and then disarmed by the Dragon Highlord. Vandar appears, holding Riva's sword. Kit dismisses the monk as not being a serious threat until Vandar uses the power of the medallion to conjour a chitinous armor like a bug might have (insects are part of the domain of Majere). As Kitiara and Vandar fight, Skie swoops in and attacks Vandar from behind. Kitiara uses the moment to grab Riva's dragonlance before fleeing atop her dragon steed.

As Kit flies away, Fizban reveals that he has the real lance and Kitiara escaped with a fake one. Riva comforts Vandar as he dies, realizing that Fizban was actually the god Paladine. Fizban then reminds Riva that because of the actions of her and Vandar, "the light still burns."

At the end of the comic, we get a map showing key locations from the first 4 issues, along with the paths Riva and Sturm traveled. Also we get stats for Kitiara, the dragon Skie, and information on dragonarmor (the armor Dragon Highlords wear).

Commentary

(Spoiler Warning for the Chronicles trilogy)
The artwork was really exceptional in this issue. There was a great deal of attention paid to Skie, Kitiara, the red dragon, and the knights of Castle Silvercrown. I thought more detail should have been taken for Kit's foot soldiers, who all looked like viking warriors, instead of mercenaries and monsters (draconians, hobgoblins, and other creatures).

I was less than pleased with the overall story. As I mentioned before many of the scenes remind me of similar scenes from the Chronicles novels:
  • Kitiara on her dragon looming over an opponent. Here it's Riva, in the novels it's Sturm at the High Clericist Tower.
  • A woman not being taken seriously by the knights until she proves herself in battle against a dragon. Here it's Riva, in the novels it's Laurana at the High Clericist Tower.
  • Kitiara being mistaken for a man (by a woman) till she removes her helmet. Here it's Riva, in the novels it's Laurana.
  • Kitiara killing a Brightblade. Here it's Vandar, in the novels it's Sturm.
  • A dying character realizing who Fizban really is. Here it's Vandar, in the novels it's Flint
Also, I really liked the character of Vandar and wanted to see more of his story. Killing him off in this issue seemed like too easy a resolution to his personal struggle. Also, Fizban's comment that Angriff Brightblade might not be dead becomes an unresolved plot point, since no one else was around to hear that statement (I'm not counting Tip, since he's just a little boy).

Overall I was disappointed with how the issue ended, but on the other hand was looking forward to seeing how the next issue would continue Riva's story.