Sep 5, 2008

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 11) - The Arena of Istar

Cataclysm!

The Arena of Istar part 3Once again, we pick up right after the end of the last issue. We see Tanis roughing up Loralon and trying to learn the elven cleric's plan. It seems Loralon was in Istar at the time of the Cataclysm (a fact that surprises Tanis) and is now trying to retrieve powerful artifacts lost during that fateful time.

Tanis, who's always been skeptical of the gods, sees little value in Loralon's quest. To help convince Tanis, Loralon takes the ranger into his memories to see what actually happenend all those years ago...

Elsewhere, we see Maquesta and Bas-ohn Koraf practicing and the minotaur proclaiming that nothing, including his brother, would stand in his way of winning their freedom.

Meanwhile, Tanis and the "elf-of-cataclysm-past" continue there look back at the events leading up the the destruction of Istar, including the hubris of the kingpriest.

Back in the present, a female sea elf (with an outfit straight out of a Fredrick's of Hollywood catalog) is tossed in the cell for trying to break into Istar. Turns out she is somehow part of Loralon's plan, but he doesn't elaborate.

For the last trip down memory lane, Tanis AND Horak accompany Loralon. Tanis sees Fizban (an aspect of the god Paladine) visibly upset at what is happening. Tanis sees first hand that it was the people who abandoned the gods, not the other way around as was commonly believed.

With a fresh perspective on the situation, Tanis now wants to know just what Loralon is looking for in the ruins of Istar. The cleric describes a pair of artifacts called "starstones", which it turns out are part of the medallions that Maquesta and Koraf wear as champions of the gladiatorial arena.

Just then, Koraf appears outside their cell to inform his brother that they will fight in the arena tomorrow and that it will be a fight to the death.

Commentary

As I've said before, Dan Simmons is really doing a great job on art for this arc. The flashback scenes are well detailed and the splash page of the fiery mountain destroying Istar is one of the best images of the event.

As great as the art is, unfortunately it doesn't make up for the weak plot. As I've said before, since I was already familiar with the cataclysm from the novels, I didn't need most of the issue retelling me things I already knew. For me this issue was just filler before the inevitable fight between Tanis and Horak against Maquesta and Koraf.

Note... One thing I didn't pick on, art-wise, is the minotaur hoof issue. The earliest art for minotaurs still had them with hoofs. When this comic came out, that was probably the official image. It wouldn't be till much later that books, stories, and art would show the minotaurs with human legs and feet.