Jun 19, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 19) - A Winter's Knight Continues

Season of the Witch

Winter's Night part 3This issue starts with Riva and companions reaching her destination. This turns out to be an empty mesa, but Riva doesn't seem bothered with this. Instead she uses the time to continue telling more tales of Wistan Dawnbringer.

Wistan's tale picks up three years after his adventure in the Silvanesti lands. During that time, lands important to the Knights of Solomnia have been plunged into an eternal winter. The knights recently learned that this was the work of the black-robed wizard Ravenna and now march on her lair.

As they approach a particularly steep hill, Alben, Lord Sigmun's son, goes on foot to scout ahead. Just over the rise, the young knight is attacked engulfed in the freezing breath of a white dragon. The other knights quickly attack and drive away the dragon, but it's too late to save the young knight.

Meanwhile as they gather fire wood, Shaya and Riva talk about the pain Lord Sigmun must have felt over sending his own son to his death. Shaya asks if Riva had any children. The old knight starts to respond, but then simple says "yes, a son".

As Wistan's story continues, the knights confront Ravenna and a pair of polar bears under her control. At first she rains down an ice storm on the knights, and then sends the bears to attack. The knights fight hard against the bears, but the beasts decimate their ranks, including taking the life of Lord Sigmun. Wistan is able to wound Ravenna enough that the mage and her polar companions retreat, while the knights are too weak to give chase.

Afterward many of the knights want to retreat and gather more reinforcements before confronting Ravenna again. Wistan on the other hand wants to push on and face her while she's still weak. In the end only two other knights accompany Wistan after Ravenna, while the remaining knights head back.

After Riva finishes this part of her tale, Shaya sees dragons flying toward them. Riva calms the girl as these dragons are good dragons, ridden by Knights of Solomnia. Riva tells Garrin, one of the knights, that her mission was a success. As she reveals strange writing on the cloth she's been wearing as a head band, she reveals this to be "the secret of the draconians undoing".

Commentary

This was another good issue in this series. The Riva portion was not very eventful, except for her mentioning that she has (or had) a son. It clearly seemed like a sad subject for her to talk about. Her rendevous with the other knights clearly showed that this older lady was still in high regard amoung her male (and younger) counterparts. I also thought it clever that the headband she's been wearing thoughout all these issues was more than just a decoration.

The Wistan portion on the other hand took up much of the issue. I liked the characterization of Wistan and Sigmun, while Ravenna seemed a little cliche, the typical "mad wizard". I would like to know what her plan/goal is and why she's been intersecting with the knights all these years.

In terms of art, this issue was a big hit... The detail on the white dragon was very well done. Likewise the polar bears attacking the knights looked realistic and imposing, especially when reared up on hind legs swinging massive paws. I also liked the details on the knights, like seeing them in winter gear, and seeing Wistan's long hair and moustache (trademark symbols of the knights) really helped set the stage and call attention to how much time has past since the previous story of Wistan.

For the Riva section, I didn't find the art that special, maybe since very little happended, though I do admit the look on her face, more than words, captured her sadness when talking about her son.

Overall, I really liked this issue (the Wistan part more than the Riva part) and look forward to the concluding chapter.