Sep 4, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 24) - Dragonring!

Ring of Evil

dragon ring part 1This issue starts out with General Axantheas holding a meeting. Around the table are humanoids of different races and genders (including a traag draconian and a hobgoblin). Behind the general is a statue of Erestem (aka Takhisis). The mintour proclaims this small group to be the greatest champions of evil on Taladas, each representing one of the Erestem's five heads.

There is infighting within the group, and Axantheas even kills one of the other "heads", believing him to be a spy for the rival nation of Thenol.

Elsewhere, Riva starts the morning in prayer to Paladine. Afterward the rest of the party convince her that the best way to stop the general and Esterem, is to reveal their plot to the emperor of the League of Minotaurs.

Later they unleash an attack on the emperor's entourage in an attempt to get a private audience with the leader. After fighting the emperor's minions, he steps out of his carriage in full battle gear. As he listens to the party, he laughs off their warning; the emperor is fully aware of who is plotting against him and is not worried about the general or the goddess Erestem.

After the brief parley, minotaur archers surround the party. Just then Skrum uses the dragonring in a last-chance effort to summon dragons to aid them.

Dragons of various colors (though all evil) arrive and begin attacking the minotaurs. Since they failed to get the emperor to confront General Axantheas, Griffin recommends now using the dragons to destroy the emperor. While Riva and the rest of the group debate the change in objective, Skrum declares that he's now in charge, wielding the dragonring in the name of Erestem.

Commentary

Overall I liked this issue. I thought it was well paced, with great art and plenty of action.

I would have liked to see the secret cabal meeting in the beginning of the issue take more focus this issue. Setting up this secret organization allows for plenty of story ideas. Likewise, I would have liked to set the man from Thenol live longer than just one line before he's killed. There could be a whole subplot around this character and if he is in fact betraying the other members. Hopefully we'll see stories concerting the others in future issues.

Art-wise Ron Randall did a great job. His dragons have plenty of detail (if still uni-colored) and he does a great job of setting up pages and panels with the huge beasts in unique posses.

On of the interesting things I've noticed over the run of this book is just how hard it is to fit dragons and humans in the same panel. In many cases, he uses splash pages or spreads to get both "in frame" with plenty of detail on lumbering beasts as well as detail on the humanoids around them. Great job overall!

I'm not sure why they changed the name from Landfall to Dragonring, as I see this directly related to those issues. Maybe this marks the end of the anthology format of the book and all future issues will be set with these characters an in this location. While I still cringe at the outfits the tiger elves wear, I do like the idea of a consistent group of characters in an ongoing story (like how I run my D&D games).

Hopefully the next issue will be just as good as this one.

One last note... issue 24 marks the end of the second year for this comic, and while overall, the best I can say about the issues is they are "uneven", hopefully some of these changes will result in an overall better book. We shall see...