DreamWorks’ Dragons are Found! Titan Comics’ “Dragon Down” Reviewed

10 Jun

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Dragon Down

Whatever the reason is for the transition, fans of the Dragons: Riders of Berk / Defenders of Berk television series can find the graphic novel at their nearest comic book store or available on Amazon. Instead of APE Publishing printing and distributing the book, Titan Books took over. They will release the two issues previously solicited from last year in May and August, and will continue with all new stories.

In these new adventures, the dragon riders will have to face new threats from within the Archipelago. The first issue, “Dragon Down,” finds Snotlout’s dragon Hookfang shedding blazing hot scales that’s causing havoc for Berk. With most of the town very flammable, this dragon has to find a new habitat to live in. If that is not enough for Hiccup and gang to deal with, Alvin the Treacherous is on the prowl too.

The similarties this tale shares with the episode “Race to Fireworm Island” (from season two) really has to be noted. In both tales, Snotlout is revealed to have a deep affection for his dragon. In both tales, Hookfang either is afflicted with some virus that either prevents him from flaming up or is often the cause of problems for the people of Berk. Also, the two stories show how the two really needs each other in times of woe or trouble. In terms of which story arrived first, this one was penned probably at the same time as the episode was being conceived last year. When production was slowed due to this title transitioning from one publisher to another, that should be of no surprise. And the wait to see how this mini graphic novel is faithful to the series is well worth it.

dragons-art

The artwork by newcomer Iwan Nazif takes a bit of getting used to. His style is perfect, but for people used to the computer rendered versions, to accept the transition is much like tuning into Netflix to watch Turbo F.A.S.T. to discover that the world’s fastest snail has become hand-drawn. Nazif’s analogue version is very faithful. As readers study his technique, his talent in creating dynamic moments must be noted. He brings a lot of life to Snotlout in the stills he creates, and when this character depends more on the talent of voice actors Jonah Hill (in the movies) and Zack Pearlman (in the TV series) to convey this character’s contempt, to see this artist successfully translate that to sequential art really has to be commended.

And the story by Simon Furman (IDW’s Transformers) shows that he understands the material very well. He nicely recreates the family-style drama from the television series. The depth he creates is simplified for a youth-oriented readership than adult, but for HTTYD fans, this comic book series is a welcome addition for something simple to read before bed. Fans have to be entertained somehow while waiting for the release of the film. The next part of the saga will not be available for everyone when it sadly moves to Netflix next year.

Volume Two, “Dangers of the Deep is scheduled to be released in August with the next issue following in a quarterly schedule.

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