Jan 23, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 15) - High Sorcery

The Test

High Sorcery part 3This issue starts off with Myrella wandering around the ruins of Neraka, specifically the Temple of Takhisis. She's not sure how she got there, but she soon hears the cry of someone trapped under some rubble. Poking around she uncovers the dark elf Kalthanan. As Myrella questions Kal, they are suddenly attacked by a pair of magic wielding draconians and then confronted by another draconian who reveals himself to be the red mage Az-araz-ar. Az then attacks Myrella and Kal destroys the red robe mage.

Meanwhile in another dimension, Par-Salian and Ladonna discusses with Riverwind and Goldmoon what's going on. It's revealed that they were searching for "the lost tower of high sorcery" to retrieve it's ancient magics for all wizards. In finding the tower, they also found that the spirit of the renegade black robe wizard named Spyranus was within the tower. Also, it's revealed that they have unwittingly shown Spyranus the way back to Krynn. It's also surmised that Spryanus was responsible for the draconians attacking the Tower of High Sorcery (in issue 13). Just then the party is confronted by Spyranus, in the form of a stone golem, and several other stone golem minions.

Elsewhere, Kal explains to Myrella that within his soul is also the soul of his murderous father Thanakan (as detailed at the end of issue 8). With the torment in his soul, Kal is looking for a magic item (once owned by Raistlin) called the Mindbender. Kal hopes to use it to destroy one of competing souls, thou he doesn't care if it's his or his father's soul that wins in the end. Myrella tries to restrain Kal to prevent the possibility if Thanakan taking over Kal's body.

Meanwhile, the fight against Spyranus continues, and appears to be going badly for Goldmoon and the others.

Back on Krynn, Myrella feels some force pulling at her (like she had previously seen happen to Goldmoon and Riverwind). She grabs Kal at just the right moment to cause both of them to be pulled away from the ruins of Neraka and separate Kal from the Mindbender. The two wind up in the middle of the fight with Spyranus.

At the Tower of High Sorcery in Wayreth, Justarius, Dalamar, and Dunbar follow Myrella's progress with great interest.

The last page features the first Dragonlance Comic letter's page.

Commentary

This was a really great issue... I felt the story with Myrella and Kal moved along nicely, unlike the other plotline (the fight with Spyranus), and the interludes with the wizards at Wayreth are a bit confusing... they don't seem surprised when she appears in the middle of the fight with Spyranus... did they know where Ladonna and Par-Salian were? Is this part of her Test? Isn't dealing with someone like Spyranus (who is challenging for a party including two arch mages and two Heroes of the Lance) a bit beyond what such a low level mage should deal with?

Art wise, the issue was again penciled by Jim Janes, but this time around, he completely made up for the issues I pointed out in my last review. This issues version of Myrella is much better than before, and more in line with her first appearance. Also the other realm is once again a bit more weird that he drew it before. Great improvement this time around.

I'm really interested in the next issue, since the final part of an arc seems to be the hardest for Dan Mishkin to properly write.

Jan 11, 2009

Did You Know? Margaret's Favorite and Least Favorite Characters

Margaret Weis has stated on more than one occasion (and her writing partner, Tracy Hickman has confirmed) that Raistlin Majere is her favorite character.

Her least favorite character... Elistan the cleric, which may be one of the reasons he's written out of the Chronicles trilogy early, and dies in the Legends trilogy.

Jan 9, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 14) - High Sorcery

Through the Eyes of Time

High Sorcery part 2This issue starts off with Myrella, Riverwind and Goldmoon on horseback discussing Raistlin. While Myrella sees the archmage as the personification of evil, while Goldmoon attempts to show the tragic side of Raistlin. Through her recounting of Raistlin's life, Goldmoon even draws parallels between the black robe mage and Myrella.

Meanwhile, on some other plane of existence, Par-Salian is in restraints while being confronted by the spirit of a dead mage, bound to a lost tower of high sorcery.

Back on Krynn, the three continue their discussion until they hear what seems to be the sound of a person crying out for help. Myrella recklessly rushes toward the sound only to be attacked by a pack of keches, which are handily defeat by the three travelers. Afterward, Goldmoon chides Myrella for her recklessness and warns that magic abilities only amplify flaws if the mage doesn't confront them. Once again, she compares Myrella to Raistlin, and they own quests for power.

Just then, it appears as if the party is about to be confronted by several dozen draconians, but before the battle begins, the creatures disappear. Myrella, believing these creatures to be the same as the ones that overran the Tower of High Sorcery in Wayreth, sees their disappearance as a sign that the mages have retaken the tower. In an instant the three find themselves just outside the tower.

Elsewhere, Par-Salian and Ladonna realize that they need help to confront the spirit in the lost tower, and Ladonna looks to Par-Salian to find just the right people (as he had done before with Raistlin, Caramon, and Crysania).

Back at the tower the three are confronted by an ergothian sea mage, Dunbar Mastermate, current head of the white robe mages. He begins to lead everyone into the tower, but Riverwind and Goldmoon fade out of existence by some other force. Myrella presses the white robe for information, and help to find her companions, but is suddenly interrupted by Dalamar (also seemingly appearing out of nowhere), who reminds her that she is here to take her test of high sorcery, and that is the only thing she should concern herself with at this moment. Dunbar tries to reassure Myrella that she should trust her friends to find their own path while she follows hers.

Elsewhere Goldmoon and Riverwind find themselves in a field of thorn bushes around a Tower of High Sorcery, but not one that Goldmoon has any knowledge of. The two seem to be witnessing a scene several centuries old: a renegade mage confronted by mages of all the orders. As they attempt to destroy the renegade, they instead cause him and the tower to be ripped away from Krynn. Just then Riverwind and Goldmoon find themselves before Par-Salian and Ladonna with a plea to help the two archmages quickly if they are to save Krynn.

Commentary

This was an okay issue. The plot moved along nicely with more development of Myrella. We all see pretty accurate depictions of Goldmoon and Riverwind through out their discussions of Raistlin. Also, I really want to point out that the keches are authentically portrayed based on their 1st edition Monster Manual II description (see page 79 of the displayed document). It's really nice to see that detail from the game followed through in the comic. I wish we had seen more of that with the early portrayals of draconians in the series.

It was also nice that we finally see some background of the spirit in the lost tower. Though I don't understand what caused Goldmoon and Riverwind to witness something that happened so long ago--it seemed a hackneyed way to squeeze this information into the issue. I do hope we get more background on this clever and powerful person, though maybe revealed in a more creative way.

Another thing that really bothered me this issue and shows a lack of work on the part of the author, is the number of people, places and things that just seem to appear out of nowhere. Practically every other moment something or someone is appearing out of nowhere... from a pack of draconains, to the Tower of High Sorcery, to the mages Dunbar and Dalamar. I would like to see better handling of the people in a scene and don't just have them appear when their lines are needed.

Art-wise, the issue was only so-so. I found Jim Janes depictions of Myrella and Goldmoon particularly annoying. Something about Myrella's face and hair was "off" from her portrayal in issue 13. Also the other realm that Par-Salian and Ladonna are in didn't have as much of the weirdness of the previous issue.

Also the computer coloring of the previous issue is gone, returning to the traditional coloring of the day (this occurred on a bunch of DC books, not just the Dragonlance comic). I wish they at least could have done all four parts of this story with computer coloring. It's a bit jarring to see the shift back this issue.

Overall a good second part, lets see if they can keep it up for the rest of this arc.

Jan 4, 2009

Happy New Year

It's a bit late, but Happy New Year to any all visitors to this blog.

I know I've been a little sparse with the postings, and I apologize, but the new year is a time to make new resolutions, among which, I pledge to post more often... and with the backlog of comics and game sessions, I really don't have an excuse.

Look for a new comic post this Friday, and then every other Friday going forward. As for the game sessions, I don't have a schedule yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I do (maybe even before).