Searching for her missing brother on the flying island of Astaroth, Dessa uncovers evidence of a shadowy conspiracy of grand scope.
Reaching the island using homemade gliders, Dessa and her nonhuman companions, Topper and Fisk, discover a delightful playground built for four children—all kidnapped from royal families—by a mysterious “Toymaker” whose underground realm turns out to occupy the island’s entire core. Meanwhile, back on the mainland, the warrior Capt. Drake captures Dessa’s amnesiac brother, Jared, after a merry chase and receives from him hints of treacherous doings involving the sinister royal chamberlain, Greyfalcon. Still on Dessa’s trail, Drake gallops on to take ship for Astaroth. As usual, predicaments, rescues, heroic physical feats, and startling revelations pile on in sequences of clear and easily readable panels. But series fans hoping that Drake will finally catch up here with his elusive quarry are in for disappointment, as Chantler, after picking up both storylines right where they left off in the previous outing, moves them only a little before cutting off at the end with a double cliffhanger. Moreover, not only is the continual shifting back and forth likely to be wearing on readers, but the pacing takes on a herky-jerky feel as the author adds filler panels here and crams too much action into some sequences there.
At best, about half an episode’s worth of plot for this otherwise above-average series. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)