Jun 13, 2008

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 2) - Beware the Draconian

Continuing my review of DC's Dragonlance comics series.

Rites of Passage

DC/Dragonlance comic, second issueThe issue starts with Riva and Vandar looking at the dragonlance they recovered in the first issue. Riva claims Vandar should carry it, or at least one of the other weapons they have, but Vandar's pacifist beliefs don't allow it. That night he notices that the constellations of the Queen of Darkness (Takhisis) and the Valiant Warrior (Paladine) do not appear in the sky. He believes that the two gods are on Krynn and no one will survive their battle. As Riva tries to comfort him, we see her attraction to Vandar while he seems to brood on a past betrayal.
Note: The sight of the missing constellations ties in to a similar scene in Dragons of Autumn Twilight.
In the middle of the night, Riva is alone in a dense, thorny forest, where she confronts Lord Soth. As she tries to use her dragonlance against him, he easily disarms her with magic.

Just then, Riva wakes up from her dream to find herself being attacked by a dragon-man creature. As it bears down on Riva, Vandar tries to attack the creature but is quickly knocked down. Both he and Riva are enveloped by a magical web the creature casts.

They are quickly rescued by Fizban and the boy, Tip (from the first issue). Fizban also explains that those creatures are "draconians", and have only recently appeared on Krynn.

All four head to Castle Silvercrown, where Riva's father, Eglin calls Vandar "a stain on the knighthood". Riva's rebuttal is that Eglin and her brother Malik are hiding in the castle instead of trying to confront the rumored dragonarmies in the area. Fizban tries to diffuse the argument with a card trick, but can't seem to recall how it goes. Malik, clearly drunk, is interested in the trick and leads Fizban out of the room.

On the roof of the castle, Malik confronts Fizban claimed he sensed great powder in the mage. Fizban notices that Malik no longer appears drunk. The image of Malik shifts to reveal a draconian. The creature claims to have killed Malik and taken his place several months ago.

Vandar arrives to see the draconian attack the befuddled wizard, but doesn't do anything, citing his pacifist code. As Fizban is pushed down a well, Elgin, Riva, and Tip arrive. Riva looks disappointed when she realizes that Vandar could have done something to stop Fizban's murder. Tip wants revenge for Fizban, but Eglin stops him. Riva instead attacks the draconian in single combat. When she is hurt, Vandar tries to step in, only to be stopped by Eglin. The elder Silvercrown notes how Vandar did nothting to save the wizard, but now rushes to Riva's aid. Just then, Riva is able to get the upper hand on the draconian, and plunge her sword through it's belly and turns to stone. Upon death, the draconian takes on the appearance of Riva.

As Riva wonders what other enemies are rising up in the realm, we see an image of Lord Soth, sitting on his throne in Dargaard Keep laughing...

The information page includes data on the Knights of Solomnia, the Oath and the Measure, as well as basic stats and a brief description of Lord Soth.

Commentary

I really liked the second issue, even though it had some faults. For fans of the original trilogy, the scene with the missing constellations was a great bonus. We can clearly see that Riva is attracted to Vandar and that he has some terrible secret in his past that probably dishonored him and drove him out of the knighthood. Also, we see him try to jump to her defense several times in the story, so it's pretty safe that he has feelings for her as well.

I didn't like Tip much in either issue. As a companion to Fizban, he serves the same function that Tas does in the original trilogy, but without being a kender. The lack of a kender in the story so far is a bit disappointing as they are such an identifiable race for the Dragonlance setting. Also, since I had read all the Dragonlance books that came out at this time, the "death" of Fizban wasn't so shocking. And the final scene of Lord Soth laughing was too clich├ęd--just what was he laughing at? Did he see Riva defeat the draconian? And that would be laugh-worthy?

Also, the writer's knowledge of draconians is a bit sketchy. The draconian casting the web spell is most likely a Bozak draconian, but when Bozak's die, they don't turn to stone (that trait only belongs to the Baaz draconians), instead their bones explode. Also the draconian at the end that takes on the appearance of Riva in death is a Sivak (they are the only ones with that ability). The two draconians in this issue look the same, though in other books and game products, all draconains look different from each other.

While not a great comic, it was a monthly Dragonlance fix at a time when only a few books were being written for the setting.