Last week I reviewed issue #1 of the Archaia/Boom! Studios prequel comic to The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Netflix series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had high hopes for issue #2. To my great joy, these hopes were not disappointed.
The second issue picks up right where issue #1 left off, with the young princess Fara having stowed away on Gelfling warrior Ordon’s landstrider as he quests for the legendary Dual Glaive – the only weapon that stands a chance of defeating the menace of the Arathim hordes. The action kicks off right from the first panel, with Ordon fighting off an Arathim ambush and discovering his unwanted companion. I had a feeling that the second issue would focus on Fara and Ordon being forced to put aside their differences and learning to work together. That prediction was borne out pretty much as I expected. Nicole Andelfinger’s writing continues to impress. She does a great job handling the dynamic between the spunky princess and the serious warrior. Both characters have something to learn in this issue. Ordon needs to except the help that fate has brought him in the form of Fara and learn not to underestimate or undervalue her spirit and abilities. Likewise, Fara needs to put aside the notion that this quest is about her proving herself and realize that her home and the safety of everyone she loves are at stake. There is a good balance of action and quieter character moments in this issue and the pacing flows nicely. My only complaint (if you can call it one) is that the issue seems too short. It was over before I knew it and left me excited for what the next issue would reveal.
Matias Basla’s artwork continues to grow on me. There are some awkward-looking facial expressions in a few panels but for the most part the art style does a fantastic job of conveying the characters’ emotions and propelling the action along. The colors by Miquel Muerto continue to be fantastic and give the comic an almost psychedelic quality. They really help convey the strangeness of the world of Thra. The coloring is crucial to the emotional impact of key scenes, expertly setting the tone. There’s one quiet nighttime scene in particular where the impressive use of light and shadows helps bring out the proper mood and visually enhances what would otherwise be a static dialogue sequence.
***Skip to the final paragraph to avoid SPOILERS for issue #2***
During the opening fight scene, Ordon is bitten and poisoned by an Arathim. His landstrider mount, which was also bitten, soon succumbs to the venom and things are not looking good for Ordon. While he continues to shun Fara’s help and urges her to return home, Ordon eventually agrees to rest and recuperate. This seems to have the effect of slowing the work of the venom and Ordon’s condition improves. The pair soon realizes that they are resting on a Tortle (a giant turtle as big as a hill) and the creature hurls them into an underground lake. They are rescued from drowning by a mysterious figure who turns out to be one of the fabled Mystics, the good counterparts of the evil Skeksis. At this point, before the events of the Netflix series, the Gelfling are still subservient to the Skeksis, whom they have been led to believe are benevolent overlords. It will be interesting to see how Ordon and Fara react to the presence of a Mystic and to learn what they have been told about them, if anything.
As you can probably tell, I am very pleased with issue #2 of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. I’m looking forward to seeing the quest for the Dual Glaive play out and hopefully get some more insights into characters from the Netflix series. If you’re at all a fan of The Dark Crystal or of heroic fantasy in general, I highly recommend picking up this series. You can expect my review of issue #3 next week. Stay tuned!