Sleeping Dragons #2
[Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics $2.95 US B&W]
Written by Kevin Mason / Illustrated by Alex Szewczuk / Inked by Craig Taillefer (pgs. 26-32)
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Sleeping Dragons #2 begins a multi-part story entitled “Becca’s Scarecrow.” It opens in the city of Gan where the residents are holding their annual “festivities commemorating the end of the Great War.” Philip Escaladine, a Knight of the Order of Meggido, has come to represent his order during the festival. He is shown around the city by Reeve Hawthorne, his son Jared and his daughter Rebecca (the Becca of the story title).
During the tour they learn that Philip has another purpose for being in Gan. Gan is directly on the border of Elrandune, a dead land that was once home to the Crough, the race that attacked the Kingdom of the West during the Great War. By the rules of a pact made at the end of the Great War, Gan was entreated to “always remain vigilant, with one watchful eye always in the birthland of the Crough.” In the past sentries had guarded the gate facing Elrandune but Gan has become lax in that duty and Philip is there to see that the sentries are reinstated.
Kevin Mason has done an outstanding job giving the reader a story that is engaging, multi-layered and populated with well-drawn characters. I particularly liked the way he gives the reader the back-story on the Great War. Along with the present day narrative a brief history of the Great War is told in real time by a troupe of actors and through flashback depicting some of the historical figures in the war. It’s also told entirely in rhyme as would befit a great saga.
The artwork by Alex Szewczuk complements the story perfectly and is reminiscent of the type of cartoon realism captured by Linda Medley (Castle Waiting) and Jeff Smith (Bone) but with a charming style all its own. The characters come alive through his illustrations and he’s equally up to the challenge of making the world come alive. Panels are graced with detailed backgrounds and the story flows seamlessly to its conclusion.
I wish all second issues of a series could be as good as Sleeping Dragons #2. For that matter, I wish all first issues could be as good as this one.
Can’t find this series locally? Write to SLG Publishing, 848 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126 or visit the publisher’s web site at www.slavelabor.com.