Jan 15, 2010

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 27) - The Gathering (Part 2)

Eron's Keep

the gathering part 2It's been a while since my last comic review, so you might want to take a moment and read the synopsis for part one of this arc before continuing.

This issue opens with a cleric, Bishop Trandemere, talking with his god, Hith about a silver dragon hatching ground, and the hope that they can get to the eggs before Erestem or Paladine.

Meanwhile, Riva awakens in a cave, having a nightmare about the recent storm (see last issue) and finds that everyone is safe and accounted for, including her dragon. Ktarrh tells Riva that he was summoned to this location, the silver dragon hatching ground, to convince his brethren to hide their eggs in more than one location for the safety of the silver dragon species.

Riva then asks the same question I had been wondering, how they survived the shardstorm (again, last issue). Ktarrh mentions that they were brought here by Eron, someone Ktarrh wants her to meet. Elsewhere the rest of the crew works on repairing the ship while Griffin and Skrum explore the cave they're in.

When Ktarrh, Riva, and the tiger clan elves arrive in the main hatching chamber, they find a group of dragons and elven "keepers" (including Eron) in deep discussion. Clearly the keepers think the silver dragon eggs should be kept in one location (based on ancient tradition), while the other dragon races (I think brass and copper) are offering to help move the eggs to a variety of locations. Seeing the party arrive, the dragons end their talk and take flight. Eron greats the party.

Elsewhere, Griffin and Skrum run into a group of minotaurs sneaking up on the party. Griffin fights of the legionaries while Skrum runs back to the dock for help. He returns with Riva, the elves, and a bunch of people from the ship.

As the two sides parley, the minotaur leader is willing to leave if the escaped prisoners, Griffin, Skrum and Riva, are handed over. Rather than hand them over, Hester (the minotaur from the ship) fights his cousin in single combat. Meanwhile an earth quake opens a new passage into the hatching chamber, allowing a horde of ogres to swarm in, with only Eron and Ktarrh to protect the precious dragon eggs.

Elsewhere, Hester kills his attacker as Riva hears screams coming from the hatching chamber. Leaving everyone else behind to deal with the other minotaurs, she runs toward the chamber. Riva arrives to see the ogres destroying the eggs in wanton slaughter while Ktarrh attacks nearby ogres with his breath weapon and Eron and the other keepers transform from elf to silver dragon. The combined effort of the dragons eliminates the ogres, but the damage is already done; most of the eggs have been destroyed!

Later Hester burns the body of his cousin, in minotaur tradition, while the silver dragons, especially Eron, realize how his pride almost doomed his species.

Back in Thenol, Hith appears before Bishop Trandemere and informs his dark cleric that most of the eggs were destroyed, denying him his dreamed of draconian warriors, but also keeping the eggs out of the hands of his great enemy, Erestem

Commentary

Story-wise, this issue was a complete mess. The framing sequence with Bishop Trandemere and the god Hith would have been more interesting if they did more in the middle. Also, Hith seems so interested in getting the silver dragon eggs, but does nothing more than send a bunch of ogres to pop in to the hatching ground and smash them up, with the pretense of at least keeping them out of Erestem's or Paladine's hands. That would be great, but I wanted to see at least an attempt to actually steal them first.

I also didn't like that the issue skipped over the apparent cliffhanger from last issue. I would rather see storm rage, and the escape from the other ship than all the head talking, most of it pointless, that filled up the issue.

Lastly, I didn't like that the party doesn't really do anything. They wake up and wander around without affecting anything. Riva meets Eron, but doesn't say a word to try to change his opinion. Riva races to the the hatching chamber in time to do absolutely nothing, at least let her and a dragon work together to save the last egg. Then you have the themes of teamwork, hope, etc.

Then there's the minotaurs... there's no explanation of how they survived the storm (at least have them look a little bruised and battered). All they really do plot-wise is give story to the minotaur shipmate Hester, who didn't really do anything last issue and who we probably won't see after this issue.

All said, this arc should have been three issues, with the missing issue about the two ships in the storm--we could have gotten more background on Hester, seen Hith do more, and seen Riva and the companions do more.

As for the art, things weren't so bad in this issue. The scenery was nice and there was a lot of detail on the creatures, but on the other hand, all the minotaur legionnaires looked the same, all the ogres looked the same, you get the idea. I'm also realizing that while there's a lot of detail in the art, there wasn't a lot of creativity in panels and angles. It all come across very serviceable, but very mundane.

Overall, a big disappointment. Maybe the next ish will be better.