Saturday, June 22, 2013

Comic Review: The Last Dragon

Yet another strange thing I pulled from a library, this time from the not-so-local library whose stock of manga and comics I am rapidly consuming, and I went for this one purely because I've read a series by Jane Yolen that involved dragons and liked it (it's also one of my examples of just how weirdly close fantasy and science fiction can be, literally the only thing that keeps it from being fantasy is the fact that it's on a colony planet in the future with low technology, just about everything else could have fit into a fantasy novel). And hey, I've read things for far stranger reasons before, let's see how this one does!

The Last Dragon Written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Rebecca Guay

Summary: There have been no dragons on the isles of May in centuries but, as is often the case in stories, one dragon egg survived, slumbering, until a mishap cracks it open and as dragons are wont to do it soon grows and begins to devour anything it can find. The islanders remember the old tales but they are not dragonslayers so while they do all the can they also begin a search for someone who can kill the beast before they all perish. 

The Good: I suspect this story is a comic instead of being a prose short story is because of how short it really is. It took me next to no time at all to read it and without the artwork I would have finished it even faster which I suppose means that this was a good choice format wise. The story flowed well and the pacing was quick which also fit the story well, but other than those technical details there was nothing about the story which really grabbed me enough to like it or even find memorable. So let's move onto that:

The Bad: While not bad or terrible the story just felt, flat. We've all seen stories about the last dragon (or more rarely some other mythical creature) awakening and wrecking havoc and we've all seen stories about unlikely hero(s) coming together to defeat it using cleverness instead of sheer strength. And this story just didn't play with any of these ideas, everything played out exactly the way you expected, from the overall story to how the characters interacted and for me that makes for a dull read. This time I can't even say "but it's old so of course I've seen other, later, stories do it better," nope this is from 2011 and, even if it theoretically spent a long time in development, it's still new enough that everyone involved must have seen the story in a dozen iterations elsewhere and I can't help but wonder why it's so dull then.  

The Art: This might be me seeing something that's not there, however while I liked the art there were a number of pages I saw which looked unfinished, as if a few layers or filters had been left off and I noticed that when simply reading through, not carefully rereading just for the art. Again, this could be me but it threw me out of the story a little bit, when I came back to it I developed the same opinions about the art that I had for the story, it works, it's fine (I do like the style) but it didn't really add anything to the story (except time spent reading) or do anything with it that I find truly memorable, this isn't a story I expect to remember any longer than a few months down the road.

I guess I'll give this one a 2.5 out of 5 since it's certainly technically competent and not terrible but, like last week, if for some reason someone does want to read a story about the last dragon or whatnot tell me, I'm sure I can think of a better story for you to read instead.