Three fugitives and a bookish young prince repeatedly rescue one another in the latest episode of this particularly adventuresome graphic-novel series.
Coming by chance upon two mercenaries and a kidnapping victim, ex–circus performer Dessa and her nonhuman companions Fisk and Topper engineer a rescue. The lucky fellow? Paladin, Crown Prince of Medoria. Smitten but annoyed (“Really? It’s gotta be me? Every time?”), Dessa does it again after Paladin ineptly tries to woo her by entering his first joust and then falling beneath his frantic charger’s hooves. Kidnapped again by the same pair during the ensuing brouhaha, Paladin gets away by himself and, turnabout, reappears in time to help Dessa and her friends escape the wrath of his ungrateful royal father. Chantler leaves some questions unanswered (such as how the kidnappers seem to get away so easily each time) and doesn’t advance the larger plotline he set up in the previous two volumes much. He does add an element of star-crossed romance to a typically fast-paced tale replete with narrow squeaks and spectacular gymnastic feats. Both the nonstop action and the sometimes subtle interactions between characters are easy to follow in the cleanly drawn and colored panels.
Nary a dull moment, nor even a slow one in this escapade’s latest outing. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)