Winging it!This issue starts off with Riva, Griffin, and Skrum arriving as prisoners in Kristophan, the capital city of the League of Minotaurs. On the outskirts of the city, Tyche, one of the minotaur soldiers loyal to the traitorous General Axantheas, kills a human soldier to frame the prisoners who Tyche intends to kill as "they were trying to escape".
Riva reaches for the dead solders polearm and uses it to knock Tyche to the ground and allowing them to make a real escape. As they run down streets and through buildings, Skrum reveals that he still has the real dragonring, and what he had previously handed over to the soldiers was an old bracelet he had.
Skrum uses the ring to summon a dragon. Unknown to Skrum, a red dragon appears attacking the chasing soldiers and allowing the three to escape. At first Riva hesitates, not wanting to ally herself with such an evil creature until league soldiers are right on her.
As soon as the dragon takes flight, Riva forces Skrum to land and send the dragon on it's own.
Elsewhere, a cleric of Erestem (as Takhisis is known on Taladas) sees the flying beast and takes it as an omen that Erestem still favors General Axantheas (a fact that the general never doubted anyway).
Meanwhile, Griffin wonders if the power of the dragonring is too much for anyone to wield, a fact Riva agrees with. As the three make their way though quite streets and back alleys, they are accosted by an elf maid clad in tiger skins. At first the elf uses a fiery illusion to disarm Griffin, but as Riva sees through the trick and begins to attack, the elf calls on the help of her brother, Maraghiz.
The elf male emerges from the shadows of the nearby alley, revealing to all that he is blind. This infirmary is no hindrance, as Maraghiz promptly summons insects to keep the party at bay. He announces that there should be no fight, as everyone is on the same side.
The party stops and is prepared to listen to the two elves. They reveal that they were sent to find the paladin (Riva) by the Tiger Quoyai, the totem spirit of their clan.
Maraghiz tells the tale of how he received visions of from the Tiger Quoyai, while the current clan shaman did not. The clan shaman had Maraghiz blinded for these visions and exiled him and Sulai, his sister from the clan. As they journeyed the land, the spirit guided them to Kristophan to find Riva and charging them with nurturing and defending good from the evil that had so gripped Taladas.
Just then a group of red dragons fly over the city, promising more trouble for this party.
Oh, the last page of the comic actually features a letters page. I can't recall the last time this comic did one. Usually they appeared letter's page every month, not just when the comic had a random page to fill.
CommentaryOverall I found the issue to be inconsistent in both the writing and art. On the writing side, I thought the plot was a little too thin. Basically all that really happens is the group escapes and meets two elves. There's a few more little details, like Skrum's possessiveness of the dragonring and the elves charge to find and aid Riva, but that's it. With a plot that thin, I would have liked to see more character development, especially around the new characters of Griffin and Skrum. Also, any fans of the original Dragonlance trilogy should recognize the backstory of the tiger clan elves as a swipe on Goldmoon and Riverwind.
Art-wise things are a bit better. I liked the splash page featuring the city of Kristophan and Ron Randall's dragons are very well done (in all the issues he worked on). I liked the background detail in the city, it helped make the settling seem live and bustling, while the league soldiers' uniforms are consistent with what was established in the Taladas roleplaying game.
Now for a couple of things I didn't like with the art. First, Griffin's skin tone changes from page to page, from a very light brown (as though he's well tanned from all this traveling as a soldier) to a dark pink color. Pick a skin tone Randy Elliott, and stick with it. Similarly, a red dragon shouldn't be an ALL red dragon. The claws and horns can be a different colors (I've seen Dragonlance art depict the claws and horns off-white or black).
Lastly, and most importantly, are the depictions of tiger clan elves. Their outfits are so ridiculous. They should be similar pieced together bits of animal hide (tiger in this case), but they look like something right out of a Victoria Secret catalog. Sulai, the female elf is basically wearing the cloth equivalent of the "chainmail bikini" along with a half jacket and cape. Everything is orange and stripes and edged in white fur. And Maraghiz, her elf brother, doesn't fair too much better. And the worst part is during the flashback sequence with the other Tiger Clan elves, Sulai and Maraghiz are the only ones wearing such silly outfits.
Hopefully the next issue will have more plot, and maybe even a way to get the two elves out of their goofy looking outfits.