Chantler puts his ongoing tale of magic, treachery, kidnapping and hot pursuit largely on pause to fill in some back story on the chief pursuer.
In previous episodes, royal knight Capt. Drake has shown himself to be as noble at heart as he is persistent in the chase. Here, he briefly catches up with his quarry, Dessa, a young circus acrobat hobbled (but not much) by a broken leg, and also looks back on his early days as a member of the elite but corrupt Dragons. Panels, pages and even sections in full color alternate with passages in monochrome, which signify these flashbacks. In his cleanly drawn action sequences, Chantler ingeniously links present and past with parallel acts or dialogue as Drake searches for Dessa in a castlelike “house of healing” while recalling the terrible night in the palace of North Huntington when heroic action saved Princess—now Queen—Magda but her father was assassinated. The author barely advances his main storyline about Dessa, but he does throw in several new clues and twists while giving readers even more reason to admire this scarred, intelligent, fundamentally decent character.
Just a quick side jaunt in the journey, but it’s a diversion that adds further depth to a particularly well-wrought tale. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)