In Review: Dragonsblood #2

Trust me when I say that little voice in your head is right -- you should pick up Dragonsblood.

The covers: This second issue roars into stores with four different covers to find. The A cover is by Igor Vitorino and Ivan Nunes and has Sigurd mad dogging the reader while holding a long sword with both hands. He’s also standing on a cliff with a dragon’s skeleton around him. In the distance a pair of dragons approach from the sky. The character looks great — mean, but great, with a heavily detailed costume and dynamic colors. However the background seems like it’s being shown through a filter, it’s colored so lightly. Ian Richardson and Hedwin Zaldivar have created a striking B cover with Freya leaping at Sigurd with a battleaxe which he parries with his sword. Both characters look outstanding and the setting is wonderful. The colors make this seem like something out of a classical tale. Fantastic in every possible way. Freya is the focus of the C cover by Geebo Vigonte and Nunes. With an ax slung over her shoulders, Freya looks at the reader as if she’s bored by their presence. She’s got on the same outfit as the B cover, but the feathers that are at the top of her cape around her neck are raised up, giving her a queenly appearance. She’s standing before a massive pair of steel doors that have intricate designs. This is a cover to chase down! The D cover is by Caanan White and Grostieta and looks more like a comic book panel than a cover. Bloodaxe, who appears at the end of this issue, is shown in profile from his left on the right of this illustration as he swings back his weapon to kill the heroes. He’s been captured mid-leap. Sigurd is also in the air, with his sword read to slash the massive villain. Not as high off the ground is Freya, who wields a shield in her right hand and an ax in her left. The visual has captured the reality of how the characters would appear if they were caught in this moment of time, but as a cover it’s difficult to make out Sigurd and the other two characters blend in too easily with the background and become blobs within their clothing. The background sky is pretty at least. This is a rare misfire from this artist and colorist. Overall grades: A B-, B A+, C A+, D C-

The story: After killing Fafnir the dragon while seeking shelter within a coffin and then being drowned in the creature’s blood, this opening from Nick Bermel is a surprise. Sigurd opens his eyes to see his parents and brother standing before him. He goes with them to their home only to stop short feeling a violent pain in his chest. Fire erupts from his eyes and something horrible happens. The setting changes and Regin happily speaks with Sigurd, bringing him up to date with all that’s occurred. On Page 6 Freya introduces herself to Sigurd and she is the reality check he needs. There’s a secret literally dangling before the protagonist on 9 that’s sure to be explored in later issues. I love how a character is discovered on 11 and what happens at the bottom of this page. The action on 13 – 16 is great with a killer reveal on the last two pages. A threat in a nearby village spurs Sigurd and Freya into action where they encounter Erik Bloodaxe, who is as Freya describes him “incredibly strong and smarter than he looks.” The hero gets his new clothes and key weapon, finds an ally in Freya, battles someone other than a dragon, and hears a voice within him saying terrible things. Smooth storytelling with lots of interesting character building makes this a great read. Overall grade: A

The art: Jason Muhr is doing an incredibly strong job on the visuals. I have stated many times I’m not a fan of computer blurs in comic books, but it works for exactly the right story reason on the opening page. I like how the panels become tilted and oddly shaped on 2 to reinforce the John Landis moment. The work in the bottom panel is horrific and gorgeous. I like that the first panel on 3 is tilted to show the jarring transition from the previous page. The large panel on this page nicely establishes the character’s state — What a scar! — as well as the setting. I like the emotion in the third panel on the next page and the cool point of view for the last panel. Page 6 is a full-paged splash, and face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot! That is how you make an entrance! I like the little things that get Sigurd’s attention on 9 and what it does to him at the top of 10. Take note of the two borders in the middle of the page which increase the electricity of the shock. I really like the look of the individual on 11 and the reaction that follows. The action on 13 – 16 is fun with the art being a key component in a character’s specific change. Also cool is the costume reveal on 18, complete with smoke to show how hot the individual looks. The reaction to a voice on 21 foreshadows more to come. The entrance and attack that ends the issue is a solid cliffhanger. I’m really enjoying Muhr’s work. Overall grade: A

The colors: Also impressive in this issue are the bright colors by Maxflan Araujo. The characters that appear after the blur are vivid. The setting that Sigurd finds himself in is idyllic due to the colors. The transitional colors on 2 are alien, frightening, and powerful. the abundance of browns on 3 – 9 create an earthy, welcoming, and safe environment. Freya’s green eyes are radiant against her pale skin and red hair. The deadening of colors in the large panel on 8 are a good visual clue to the reader that a character is making their exit. The reds, oranges, and blacks on 10 beautifully create a nightmare. The yellow that shows a character’s actions on the following page is awesome. I love the rays of sunlight coming through the trees on 13. The return of the yellows on 16 is epic. The entrance on the final page has the character looking like evil incarnate with his body primarily in shadow, the splatter of crimson on his weapon, and the heat from the oranges and yellows around him. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, yells, and sounds are created by Kurt Hathaway. I don’t like when dialogue and narration are in the same font, even if differed by the shape and/or colors of their balloons. I do like the yells which are done in larger and thicker fonts. The sounds are outstanding, with GASP!, THUD!, and SZZZ cool. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Trust me when I say that little voice in your head is right — you should pick up Dragonsblood. Every individual is fun, the art is detailed, and the colors are vivid. A great series that deserves your time. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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