Even the slightest glimpse at my previous reviews for this series and you’ll know that it’s been a hit with me since the beginning. The artwork is striking and caught my attention instantly and kept me coming back for more, it was only a plus that the story was entertaining and interesting as well. Unfortunately, and it pains me to say this, the conclusion of the series failed to meet the mark of the previous four chapters and delivered an average at best story. The artwork remained amazing as the first issue, but was given next to nothing to work with in this final issue. In the last issue we saw Tos’un betray his wife Sinnafain in order to progress into the caves of the Underdark with his daughter. We pick up in this issue with Tos’un carrying Doum and her being rather confused by everything. She begins talking decently normal and her father continues to tell white lies about her situation. He also knows what the sword is telling her to do and what it’s saying about him at times, but for the first time in the entire series… we’re not given the swords dialog. The rest of the issue is spent with Father and Daughter traveling the caves to reach Tos’un’s home and him telling her half-truths.
The thing about this series is that it’s never been about Doum, but rather about the sword “Cutter.” Yes the father has played a huge role in shaping the story and guiding Doum and technically the sword, but he’s always been in the background. I didn’t have a problem with him playing a larger role since it was impossible for him not to, but I do have a problem with the huge narrative shift on the final issue. If it was gearing up for the next arc that would be one thing, but this series technically ends with this issue, hence “The End” appearing on the final page. I wouldn’t doubt that the story is going to continue, but it’s bad storytelling to just say, “We’ll get them next time” and leave this chapter of the story with its ass hanging out in the wind. There’s no conclusion to the events of the series and all character development was completely halted. Now I understand the gimmick of marketing a new mini with a fresh first issue, but if that was going to be the case then this should have been the first issue for the next volume not the ending of this one. My argument for this is in the dialog as everything father and daughter talk about is just a recap of the events that lead to their current journey.
As I said in the beginning the artwork doesn’t disappoint, but it’s given nothing to work with. Baldeon does a great job of showing the characters emotions as they arise in the conversations. This is the only place that you get a true sense of the characters personalities and really how evil Tos’un is; other than that though… they’re just walking through a cave. Baldeon has illustrated some incredible action sequences and granted the story needed a break, but to not find something he could illustrate that was equally amazing just seems like a waste; caves and water are not the proper replacement.
Don’t get me wrong the issue is still purchase worthy, but it’s nothing compared to the previous four issues. The story is average in every sense of the word, while the art is striving to be anything but. If you were on the fence with the last issue then you might want to just call it there since this issue doesn’t offer anything other than a set up for the next series (which is sure to have a recap anyways), but if like me you were really looking forward to this issue and plan on getting it anyways… then brace yourself.
Writers: R.A. Salvatore & Geno Salvatore Artist: David Baldeon Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/25/13