Dec 5, 2008

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 13) - High Sorcery

Lost and Found

High Sorcery part 1This issue is the beginning of a new story. It opens with two mages (one in white robes, the other in black) in some weird bizarre realm with screaming mouths embedded in floating mountains and giant eyeballs floating in murky dark rivers.

The two are revealed to be Par-Salian and Ladonna, and they appear to have found something called the "The Lost Tower of High Sorcery". From out of the tower, strange strands of blue shot out and grab the two mages. As they are pulled into the tower, Par-Salian cries out.

Just then, Myrella (last seen in "Raistlin's Pawn") wakes up from a nightmare, screaming. She and Gnatch talk about the dream and come to the conclusion that it's just her nervousness at her upcoming Test of High Sorcery, which she is in route to Wayreth to take.

Gnatch and Myrella also talk about Kalthanian, and it's revealed that neither has seen him in the two years since the end of the war (when the "Raistlin's Pawn" story takes place), nor does anyone, including Raistlin, know where the dark elf is currently.

Outside the ship they've been traveling on, the two part, but not before Gnatch gives Myrella an egg-shaped device that might "come in handy in the forest".

Myrella wanders the forest for sometime until she seems to find herself inside the courtyard of the Tower of Wayreth (which is actually a couple of towers surrounded by a walled courtyard. Just outside the tower doors she is attacked by a pair of draconians. She tries her shortsword and then a spell (neither affective against the draconians) before trying to outrun them. As she rounds a corner, she finds a red robed mage being attacked by another one. With a spell targeted under the draconian (instead of the draconian itself), Myrella is able to rescue the mage and the two make an escape.

Taking a moment and rest, and while still hiding from the draconians, the human male introduces himself as Az-Araz-Zar. It seems the draconians lead a surprise attack on the tower and quickly seized control of the tower's teleportation system. Az believes many of the wizards were left behind when the Tower's were teleported to this new location.

As they sneak around the tower, some strange effect causes Az to shift appearance from a human, dwarf, and even to a draconian. The two are confronted by the draconians and Myrella uses the device Gnatch had given her. The egg turned out to contain a kite shaped like a small dragon. It crashed into one of the draconians and provided a brief distraction for Az to cast a barrier spell, protecting the two.

While behind the barrier, Myrella tries to speculate who would be behind such as attack on the wizards. Az claims "only the blackest of the black robes would dare assult a tower". Myrella wonders if Raistlin could be behind this attack. As the barrier is about to collapse, Az teleports Myrella away from the tower.

Myrella has no idea of where she. When she is found by a patrol of Que-Shu riders, she passes out. When Myrella wakes up, she's in the Que-Shu village. Goldmoon and Riverwind are with her. She talks about the attack on the Tower of Wayreth and how she thinks Raistlin may be behind it. Goldmoon surprises Myrella by informing her that Raistlin is dead.

Commentary

This was a pretty good issue ("great" by Dragonlance standards, since all expectations were lowered after issue 12). The art was great for the most part, from the nightmare lands in the opening, to the detail in the Forest of Wayreth, the fight sequences with the draconians, to all the detail on the Que-Shu. There are a few nitpicks. While the ship that Myrella and Gnatch are on is well detailed, there are no crew seen anywhere (which is strange since there was so much attention to background detail throughout the rest of the issue). Also, Goldmoon has blonde hair, though here it's brown.

Now time for a bit of comic book history. Around this time, comics were beginning to embrace computer technology in their creation, and computer coloring was just starting to take off (mostly in independent comics, I think). This issue was one of DCs attempts to use that technology on their books. As such, this issue is less flat than the previous issues. I hope they keep up this technique on future issues.

I also liked this issue story-wise as well. The opening sequence was intriguing, how will it tie into the assault on the Tower of Wayreth? There's an interesting mystery started in this issue that I hope is carried through the rest of the story.
I also liked that Gnatch was written out (I still don't like this character), and I hope we'll see more of Az.

Plot-wise there were also a few nitpicks. While the issue doesn't mention it, Ladonna and Par-Salian are heads of the white and black robed wizards. As such, Par-Salian's behavior seems a little out of character for someone who is one of the most powerful wizards on Krynn at the time. Also, the story takes place two years after the war, so Raistlin should still be alive (the Legends trilogy doesn't take place 4 years after the war), and Que-Shu isn't rebuilt till a few years after that, though what's in this issue could be seen as "temporary housing".

Overall, this was a great issue and really helped make up for the mess that was issue #12.