This review was written for Big Shiny Robot by Nathan Alley, you can look at photos of him on Instagram by following @thebiggestnimrod
WRITTEN BY: George Mann ART BY: Alan Quah COLORS BY: Komikaki Studio feat. Norah Khor TCS LETTERS BY: Rob Steen
Playing the much-anticipated “Dark Souls III” this week? Need a break from the 60-70 hours of screaming at your TV in periodic bouts of uncontrollable rage brought on by excruciatingly hard boss-battles that threaten to consume your entire life? Then maybe “Dark Souls: The Comic Book” is right for you. First of all, you can’t throw a comic book through a television if it pisses you off. Second, it’s a brisk read that’s pretty accessible to non-fans.
For the uninitiated, “Dark Souls” is a critically-acclaimed video game series that takes place in a medieval fantasy world. There are knights, wizards, and dragons, and they all fight zombies or something; honestly it’s not terribly important. There’s a basic plot that ties it all together, but these games are all about the mechanics, the environment and (most of all) the boss battles. That might contribute to the fact that you don’t actually have to have any experience with the “Dark Souls” games to enjoy this book. The first page is a helpful, concise introduction (framed as a page of ancient text) that sets up the world and the stakes, and then it’s off to the races. In my experience, a lot of movie/TV/video game tie-ins require you to read their whole Wikipedia page to get what’s going on, leaving new readers out in the cold. Here, it’s so simple it’s almost like a microcosm of a video game level. They establish the protagonist’s goal (steal a dragon’s tooth), she battles her way through the level (a “crystalline labyrinth”), and then she fights the boss (big guy with a spiky hat).
The best reason I can give you to pick up this book is the artwork of Alan Quah. You might have seen his work at DC, Legendary or IDW, but this looks like the one that might put him on the map. Quah is skilled at laying out panels in a way that propels the story forward with coherent and well-paced action sequences. With lush, painterly colors by Komikaki Studio (that Quah himself is the founder of), I’m willing to recommend this book on the art alone.
Whether you're a fan of the “Dark Souls” franchise, fantasy, or comics in general, there’s probably something here you’ll like.
Dark Souls #1 hits stands April 20th.