The introduction of this series’ heroes pales in comparison to the shocking conclusion to the prolog story arc.
Writer/Artist: Gyojeong Kwon
Translation: Soyoung Jung
Adaptation: Soyoung Jung
What They Say
Skipp informs Lazarus that the human clans now believe the Great Ferat will fulfill her own dark prophecy and summon Noigin, the Dragon of the Dark. She warns Lazarus that the lives of all high-level sorcerers are now at risk. However, Lazarus brushes off the warnings as nonsense. Meanwhile, the Great Ferat has a disturbing vision of her city of Asorem in ruins and orders the Gaderins to immediately evacuate. Now, only four remain in Asorem: the Great Ferat, two of her servants, and Lazarus. In accordance with her vision, a jealous human clan poisons the city water supply hoping to kill all the Gaderins and end the threat of Noigin by killing the Great Ferat herself. All of these dark events set the stage for the two young heroes to start on a journey that will place them on a collision course with Fate. They are Young Det and his expert swordsman friend Osen.
Is the future predetermined? Lazarus is warned by fellow magician Skipp that the Gaderins are a fatalistic people who believe the future is static. Lazarus becomes increasingly concerned about the Ferat, but continues his studies with her. He wants desperately to keep his promise to take her outside to see the Hid flowers in bloom, but she knows time is running out. An unseen tragedy is going to drag them apart, because the Ferat has seen a future that she's not a part of.
The suspense builds, and when the dreaded calamity occurs I was taken by surprise by the final result. It was well foreshadowed, even spelled out during earlier events, and I still didn't expect it. It truly appears the future cannot be averted for these characters. The relationship of Lazarus and the Ferat was very touching and it's a shame that storyline ends mid-book. That's when we're dropped into a future where magic and the Feramores are mostly forgotten and monsters have appeared in the countryside. Det and his friend Osen are introduced and everything slows back down again. The two young men are restless in their mundane life in the village where they were born. The rules of the land of Ralamid are partially redefined, but not without impact from previous events. We see the brief return of one character, but what role they have to play now is unclear. The story lingers for a time on the everyday lives of the new leads, but by the end of this volume they are off on their journey.
It's a pretty bold move to launch a series with what amounts to an extended flashback. We as readers now have more details on the history of the world than the leads do.
The art continues to be serviceable but seems to exist more to serve the story than anything else. There's haven't been any panels that have made me pause to enjoy the scenery. The young characters all have similar facial structures, which seems to be a reoccurring problem in most comics, regardless of country of origin. The panels flow smoothly from one to the next, and they're blocked well, but a large majority consist of talking heads. The magic of the story is a very low tech type '" not flashy and eye grabbing but more utilitarian. The real draw here continues to be the story and the character interactions. In that aspect, the story is doing a good job keeping me interested.
This volume contains a glossary detailing different information than the glossary in volume one, plus a map of the world.
After the well crafted opening story arc, it's a slow burn to get through the introduction of Det and Osen. One saving grace is that the future heroes are pushed to leave by their own unrest and desire, rather than some plot device, such as burning their town to the ground. It's still too heavy on the exposition, but it's nice to read something with such a well developed fantasy world. I have high hopes for the rest of this series, if it can maintain the level of drama and storytelling delivered by this volume.