In Review: Dragonsblood #3

Zenescope's fantasy series is the perfect mix of action, thrills, and drama.

The covers: There are four covers to collect if a little voice urges you to do so. The A cover is by Martin Coccolo and Ivan Nunes. Sigurd takes a knee to the grass before a castle. He thrusts his sword into the ground with his right hand as his open left seeks a response from the heavens. Behind him a gigantic plume of golden smoke roars from the castle and transforms into a dragon bearing down upon him. This is a great cover! Riveiro and Grostieta have created a tease of things to come on the B cover with Freya defending herself from Bloodaxe with a shield and Sigurd using his sword against Ivar and his daggers. The four are battling among crumbling rocky structures as tremendous bursts of lightning blast against the sky. The characters look awesome and the colors are perfection. This is also a winner. The trio of John Royle, Jagdish Kumar, and Sebastian Cheng have the focus on Freya for the C cover. The hero is squatting on the tips of her toes in a snowy settings. She holds a battleaxe before her, looking at the reader. Also before her is a shaggy orange tiger. Beautiful illustration with perfect colors. Simply sensational. Sigurd is exploding with power on the D cover by Ryan Pasibe and Mohan Sivakami. The hero’s hair is raising up, he’s sporting fangs as he gives a powerful scream, and energy is crackling around the sword he holds with both hands. Additionally, there is an explosion of orange energy behind him that resembles something out of Anime. This is okay, though Sigurd looks too old and too buff. Overall grades: A A, B A, C A+, and D B-

The story: The previous issue ended with Bloodaxe confronting Sigurd and Freya. The two men have locked blades until the larger man flings the hero to the ground. As Bloodaxe swings his weapon down for a killing blow Freya inserts herself between them to save the novice hero. She quickly tells him, “Since we’ve never fought together I’ll try to keep this simple. You have more brute strength than I do, so you’re more suited to trading blows with this animal. Keep him busy and I’ll look for an opening to do some serious damage.” Sigurd charges Bloodaxe and they exchange blows. He’s able to momentarily distract the villain by placing his steaming sword on the monstrosity’s cheek. Unfortunately it’s not enough and Freya is batted aside as she makes a move. On Page 5 a familiar voice speaks to Sigurd whose reality changes. He suddenly feels more powerful and makes an incredibly smart move on 7. I really like the trait Sigurd exhibits in the first two panels on the next page. Freya also introduces a neat new skill on 11. The voice momentarily returns on 13, foreshadowing trouble for the next issue, I’m sure. The winners of the battle take a pause before journeying further, allowing a supporting character to return to offer advice. The book’s big bad appears on 20 and shows why he’s a villain. The book ends with the heroes getting two days to plan for the final conflict. I like that writer Nick Bermel has believable battles in this book and the appropriate downtime for characters to recover and plan. Sigurd’s voice is really strong, leaving me wanting to read more about him. Overall grade: A

The art: Jason Muhr’s art is really good. The first panel quickly establishes the combatants in a close-up which is followed by Sigurd being thrown backwards. I like the point of view of the bottom panel on the first page which has the reader taking on Battleaxe’s namesake. Freya looks fantastic when she appears on the second page. Notice how Muhr reminds the reader of the possible outcome of this fight with a body in the fountain and a pleading hand at the bottom of the panel. The third page is composed of six diagonal panels that make the action more frantic. Page 5 has the voice that Sigurd hears have a visual effect on him. The action on 7 is terrific, ending with a particularly brilliant grisly reaction. The first two panels on the next page had me sit up as a new ability is revealed. The first complete panel on 9 was shocking and cool. The speaker that starts 14 looks incredibly strong, but take a gander at the character holding the restraints — that’s not how I pictured this individual at this moment. Could this be some foreshadowing? The first six panels on 17 beautifully show someone in search of guidance. The pair of panels that end 19 are wonderful for the emotions displayed. The character that’s introduced at the end of 20 looks creepy and cool. Resolve dominates the book’s final panel and is a perfect image to close this penultimate issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: Blood is important to this book and Maxflan Araujo does a great job in making it pop — weapons, characters, and settings sport splatters that catch the eye and haunt one individual. I really like that Sigurd’s sword is the same color as his hair, making him and his weapon more unified. Oranges increase in the background on 4, becoming appropriately overwhelming on 5. The yellows that signify Freya using her abilities are strong and cool. Strong greens for Ivar’s clothes make him snake-like. I also need to compliment Araujo for coloring Sigurd’s thoughts which makes them instantly stand apart from dialogue. Overall grade: A

The letters: Kurt Hathaway creates this issue’s narration and dialogue (the same font), yells, sounds, screams, scene settings, and the three word tease for next issue. The design and color of the balloons differentiated the narration and dialogue. This works, but I prefer to see each done in a different font; different forms of communication need to be visually different from one another. The yells and screams match the volume with which they’re uttered. The sounds are excellent! Notice how there are different CLANGs, one for metal on wood and another for metal on metal. This is the sign of a smart letterer. I also like the scene settings which are in a large font, outlined, and atop a bar that enters from off the page. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Zenescope’s fantasy series is the perfect mix of action, thrills, and drama. The characters are strong and interesting, while the visuals are engaging and epic. This is what a comic book should be! Overall grade: A

To order a print copy go to https://shop.zenescope.com/collections/new-releases-1/products/dragonsblood-3

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Dragonsblood-3-Legend-of-Sigurd/digital-comic/785861?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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