This is by far my favorite series from IDW currently being published. Don’t get me wrong, they have several other great titles but this one sits at the top of that pile. How it manages to continue surprising the reader and drawing out the story in the most fantastic of ways is beyond me. What’s more impressive is the art and that it has not only remained consistent, but impressive. In a very cool turn of events the story actually follows Doum’s parents Tos’un and Sinnafain for the bulk of the issue. They’re getting closer to catching up to their daughter, but there is definitely something up with dear old dad. It’s been pretty heavily alluded to throughout the series so far, but it’s cranked in this particular chapter of the story. The husband and wife talk about old injuries and their concern about the Orcs that are surely on their trail. The strange thing is that neither of them talk to each other with any type of love or even seem to care for one another. Additionally they both refer to Doum as “their” daughter not “our” daughter when speaking to one another about her.
On the flip side of things Doum has gotten to the point that she needs to stop and rest. A storm kicks in and for the first time she begins to talk to the sword. She doesn’t realize it, but the sword breaks from its control over her voice and addresses her when she attempts to cut a shrub to start a fire. She actually fights it and does it anyways which makes the sword go nuts and breaks the connection between them. Doum snaps out of it for a second and falls to the ground releasing the sword from her gripe.
This was a very good chapter. The developments with Doum are great, but more so was the mother and father. Something big happens in the story and while it’s not too terrible surprising, it was still very interesting and challenges the story to explain the events that transpire. I’m not sure how many issues are left of this story arc, but as long as it continues to be this well-plotted and paced I’m happy.
As much as I like the plot of the series the art has always been the star for me. I suspect that Baldeon has the talent for animation or even concept art for Hollywood, but thankfully he’s drawing comics. His work is magnificent and he’s definitely one of, if not my favorite illustrator working in comics instead of laboring away unrecognized by the comic community like so many others. The facial expressions in this issue say so much more than the dialog does. Doum’s father is evil as hell and the look on his face every time his wife has her back to him is sinister. Doum’s reaction to the shrub was great as you could see the pain on her face and her body’s sense of relief to not be under the swords control. I continue to be impressed by the depth of his landscapes and the fantastic coloring that makes them three-dimensional. I’ve said this before and I’m likely never to stop saying it, but I will follow Baldeon to any project. He’s so incredibly talented, but Cruz makes his art shine with his impressive coloring and is a huge part of why the landscapes pop off the page the way they do.
Being that this series is four issues in and not structured in a way to pick up new readers along the way, you’ll definitely want to go back and pick up the first three issues in addition to this issue. It’s more than worth it and I almost envy anyone that does so because they will get to blow through four issues all at once. If we rated comics based on medical conditions and the more fatal the condition the higher the score, than this would be a cardiac arrest followed by a decapitation. If that doesn’t sell you on it then just look at the score.
Writers: R.A. Salvatore & Geno Salvatore
Artist: David Baldeon
Colorist: David Garcia Cruz
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: 8/7/13