Dark Souls

Review: Dark Souls #2

Brow-beaten by the inexorable cruelties of a foresaken realm, intrepid warrior Fira wades into the Weeping Forest, to be bitten by the lurking beast-folk, and the ash and flame of bonfires yet still to be struck. For Andolus must be reawakened.

Following the opening entry of Titan Comics’ freshly-ignited Dark Souls series, George Mann and Alan Quah return with a second entry that feels more authentic as a Dark Souls comic book, whilst valiantly endeavouring to find sufficient time to develop its narrative elements.

Writer: George Mann
Artist:
 Alan Quah
Publisher:
 Titan Comics
Available:
 Out Now

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

The second issue of Titan’s Dark Souls unfolds in the Weeping Forest. Having obtained the Tooth of Andolus from their previous scrape with the Dragon Augerer, Fira and her scryer companion Aldrich find themselves wading the decrepit innards of a , in search of a sword of Dragon Bone and its formidable guard, The Everlord. The haunted woods is a welcome change from the uncharacteristic glamour of the previous entry’s Crystalline Labyrinth. Here is a land already submerged in Soulsian flair, lapsed in corruption, decay and a perpetual gloom that feels more at home with From Software’s many tortured realms.

The overarching plot of the series is set into motion by Andolus, a legendary dragon of immense power, who has since been slain by egomaniacal Baron, Karamas. Whilst this was alluded to in the first entry, this issue brings us closer to Ishra’s tortured legacy by way of an intriguing (albeit brief) flashback surrounding the intent behind the Baron’s actions. Ishra’s backstory is well-handled by Mann, lending an essential context to the land’s haggard state, whilst leaving patches of ambiguity to be developed in later entries.

Dark Souls2

Fira herself feels ever so slightly distanced in this chapter, however. Whilst the first issue dropped tantalising hints surrounding the character’s turbulent past in the Knights Order, this second adventure draws a greater focus on her current endeavours, rather than her fragmented memories.
Distanced further is Aldrich, whose character seems a little confused during the course of this second issue, and lacking in definitive purpose. His initial role is promising: the pivotal conductor behind the pair’s rite to rejuvenate Andolus, but transcends into little more than a convenient plot-trigger as the comic progresses. This feels more of a length-issue more than anything else; given the issue’s concentration on combat segments, character narrative dwindles some, with dialogue occasionally feeling shoehorned in to supplement the expository combat.

It is Dark Souls‘ arduous battles that are thankfully given the most attention. Encounters with web-dwelling zombies are delightfully grotesque compared to the first issue’s majestic Dragon Augerer, and are afforded a detail that ties the comic closer with the innate struggles of the game. Whilst the comic prerequisite appeared more of a narrative foundation (which ultimately left little page-time for the truculent encounters Dark Souls is known for), Quah here feels more on-form, portraying elongated battles and crushing moves, realised with a human finesse that truly shines in the artwork’s continually strong facial detailing.

The foes themselves are beautifully detailed by Quah, realised with an elegance that strikes true with the games, without letting their grotesqueness pass unnoticed. There’s a familiar hint of the unexpected to be observed in enemies here too; something both seasoned veterans and Souls newcomers are likely to find relatable. Whilst the comic’s source material ultimately renders surprise-encounters predictable, they lend the ominous magnificence to boss introductions that was sorely lacking in the previous instalment.

Dark Souls1

Titan’s Dark Souls is no doubt headed in the right direction, extending a follow-up that feels more aligned with From Software’s Gothic adventure. But the issue struggles to find time enough for its warriors, leaving characters somewhat sidelined amidst the classically-styled action frames. It certainly feels more grounded, and fans of the Souls series may find the second issue more promising than the last, but let us hope Titan’s Dark Souls can find some balance, now that it has found its feet.

  • Bosses are grotesquely elegant
  • Backstory complexifies Karamas’ character
  • A greater emphasis on combat feels more in step with Dark Souls

  • The issue finds little time to develop its characters
  • Aldrich feels somewhat confused and lacks purpose
  • Dialogue occasionally feels empty against the bold action sequences

Brow-beaten by the inexorable cruelties of a foresaken realm, intrepid warrior Fira wades into the Weeping Forest, to be bitten by the lurking beast-folk, and the ash and flame of bonfires yet still to be struck. For Andolus must be reawakened. Following the opening entry of Titan Comics' freshly-ignited Dark Souls series, George Mann and Alan Quah return with a second entry that feels more authentic as a Dark Souls comic book, whilst valiantly endeavouring to find sufficient time to develop its narrative elements. Writer: George Mann Artist: Alan Quah Publisher: Titan Comics Available: Out Now A review copy was provided by the publisher. The second issue of Titan's Dark Souls unfolds in the Weeping Forest. Having obtained the Tooth of Andolus from their previous scrape with the Dragon Augerer, Fira and her scryer companion Aldrich find themselves wading the decrepit innards of a , in search of a sword of Dragon Bone and its formidable guard, The Everlord. The haunted woods is a welcome change from the uncharacteristic glamour of the previous entry's Crystalline Labyrinth. Here is a land already submerged in Soulsian flair, lapsed in corruption, decay and a perpetual gloom that feels more at home with From Software's many tortured realms. The overarching plot of the series is set into motion by Andolus, a legendary dragon of immense power, who has since been slain by egomaniacal Baron, Karamas. Whilst this was alluded to in the first entry, this issue brings us closer to Ishra's tortured legacy by way of an intriguing (albeit brief) flashback surrounding the intent behind the Baron's actions. Ishra's backstory is well-handled by Mann, lending an essential context to the land's haggard state, whilst leaving patches of ambiguity to be developed in later entries. Fira herself feels ever so slightly distanced in this chapter, however. Whilst the first issue dropped tantalising hints surrounding the character's turbulent past in the Knights Order, this second adventure draws a greater focus on her current endeavours, rather than her fragmented memories. Distanced further is Aldrich, whose character seems a little confused during the course of this second issue, and lacking in definitive purpose. His initial role is promising: the pivotal conductor behind the pair's rite to rejuvenate Andolus, but transcends into little more than a convenient plot-trigger as the comic progresses. This feels more of a length-issue more than anything else; given the issue's concentration on combat segments, character narrative dwindles some, with dialogue occasionally feeling shoehorned in to supplement the expository combat. It is Dark Souls' arduous battles that are thankfully given the most attention. Encounters with web-dwelling zombies are delightfully grotesque compared to the first issue's majestic Dragon Augerer, and are afforded a detail that ties the comic closer with the innate struggles of the game. Whilst the comic prerequisite appeared more of a narrative foundation (which ultimately left little page-time for the truculent encounters Dark Souls is known for), Quah here feels more on-form, portraying elongated battles and crushing moves, realised with a human finesse that truly shines in the…

7

Good

A Reassuring Successor to a Lukewarm Opening

This second issue of Dark Souls strikes truer with its source material, but struggles to find time for its characters amidst its striking battle encounters.

70

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Charlie is a platforming romantic from England, that still speaks in a fashion that died with the Elizabethan era. Having been gaming since the days of Crash Bandicoot, he champions the Playstation, and is only a little bit embarassed that Super Mario Land keeps spelling his defeat.

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