Feb 6, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 16) - High Sorcery

Flesh and Stone

High Sorcery part 3This issue picks up right after the last issue, with a great splash page of a gargantuan Spyrus (in the form of a stone golem) towering over the party while lesser golems attack. The mages combine their power to keep the monsters at bay. Spyranus then manipulates this demi-plane to split the party up.

Myrella and Par-Salian find themselves falling down a huge canyon. Quick thinking on Myrella's part allows her to cast a Feather Fall spell in enough time. As the two begin to climb up the rocky walls, Par-Salian mentions that while these events are real, this is also considered her Test of High Sorcery. Myrella resolves to succeed, thereby earning the white robes she believes is her destiny.

Elsewhere Kal and Goldmoon are trapped in a ragging river. At first Kal tries to hold on the cleric and clutch a stray branch, till it breaks under the river current tugging against the two. Before the two get swept under, Goldmoon is able to cast a spell to part the river and allow them to get out safely. Back on shore, Goldmoon tries to help the elf, but Kal insists that only the Mindbender magic item can help him.

Meanwhile, Ladonna and Riverwind find themselves trapped in a room. As they try to escape, they are taunted and attacked by giant heads of Spyranus forming out of the walls and door of this room. Together, the mage and plainsmen combine magic energy and brute force to escape.

As they get outside, they regroup with the rest of their party. They soon realize that Spryanus has been bound to The Lost Tower for so long that he can't bear to separate from the tower, which is why he has yet to return to Krynn.

Spyranus attempts to pull the tower (and himself) back to Krynn. While the archmage is consumed with this, Myrella comes up with an idea. Binding the power of Par-Salian and Goldmoon with her own, Myrella is able to summon the Mindbender from Krynn. With this powerful item, she is able to separate Spyranus from the tower as well as place Kalathan/Thanakan within the tower.

Spyranus, now human, seems to have lost all memories of who he is, while Kalathan now feels at piece since the tower is somehow able to contain both personalities without affecting the other.

Myrella realizes that her place as a mage is not among the white robes of good, but the red robes of neutrality. Just then she hears a disembodied voice before seeing Az-araz-ar appear. Myrella realizes he is not a common wizard, but actually the god Gilean, the chief god of neutrality. Az creates a portal back to Krynn, allowing everyone to leave, except for Kal.

The last two pages feature a brief explanation of where The Lost Tower is located among the planes, and stats for Takhisis (which is very strange, since she doesn't appear in this arc at all).

Commentary

I really liked this issue, this was a good ending to the arc. I had wished for Spyranus to be more of a villain, and maybe escape (to return in another story), but it's still possible for him to be a threat at another point. I also liked seeing Myrella's story, as she realizes her path. Overall the story could have been better if some of the other characters had learned/grew over the course of the story, but instead the mages and the barbarians, all characters from the novels, seem to just be on hand for Myrella's story. It was as if the writer didn't want to do anything to the established characters (and that may have been a requirement from TSR at the time), so I won't fault him too much on that.

Art-wise I think Michael Collins did another great job. Myrella looks determined and strong, Kal has really strong elven qualities, and depicting various magic effects, like Spyranus being ripped apart from the tower, are very well done.

Overall this is my second favorite arc so far (my top favorite is still issues 1-4). Hopefully the next arc will at least maintain this level of quality.