By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
The next graphic novel in Dark Horse Comics’ How to Train Your Dragon series is now out in comic stores and will land online and at bookstores on September 4, 2018. Dragonvine finally brings a few details of to light which is very important in further developing each member of the Dragon Riders, Valka included. This tale takes place after the events of the second film. This story starts with Hiccup and gang fondly remembering Stoick the Vast.
This introduction can easily be made into an animated short. Dean DeBlois put in a lot of development to this interlude, and it shows. Together with Richard Ashley Hamilton, the first 17 pages is a story in itself. It blends some of that wonky humour from Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon and seriousness in Gift of the Night Fury. Artists Doug Wheatley and Francisco de Fuente contributed to this work. Their illustrative styles are different enough to make one-third of the book feel solid and the other not as consistent. I much prefer Wheatley’s solid and inspired look straight from the computer-animated series than the comic strip style of Fuente. Wes Dzioba‘s colours compliment Wheatley’s work much more fluidly too.
I can easily reread the first 17 pages all over again, instead of worry about where the Silkspanners fit in. These spider dragons attacked the team and soon enough, Hiccup meets natives from Africa. These strange reptiles look like they are indigenous to this region than the wastelands, but soon enough, just why they are here are explained. This other team was chasing after Drago (from the second film).
One more book will be released perhaps close to or immediately after the third film, to finish this saga. I will be sad to see the Dragons fly away. Thankfully, another series, Rescue Riders, is in the works. It may look at the beta team protecting Berk as the main team is focussed on diplomacy and other matters. I hope this series is not going to be like Transformers: Rescue Bots. To mirror it too much is a bad idea, and I like to see new threats coming to Berk which will see the odd cameo of the alpha team.