Dark Souls #1 and #2
The world of Ishra has the rotting plague, and the fire of Andalous is gone. Fira and The Scryer seek to return the parts of Andalous and perform a ritual to save humankind.
May and June 2016
Producer: Titan Comics
Artist: Alan Quah
Writer: George Mann
Genre: dark fantasy, video game adaptation
“You have died!”
Those famous words appear often in the Dark Souls saga. Now that there is a comic book, I think it only appropriate that the reader should have to fail many times and re-spawn at the beginning of the book. That was not the case with the Dark Souls comic. What I did find was a very beautiful world wrapped in darkness.
Violence: Limbs get chopped off by the hero’s sword. Torsos get impaled. Blood is shed through sword wounds. Evil spiders bite into flesh. Dark monsters are a repeating theme in the story. Rodent innards can be seen in a ritual. Zombies get hacked and slashed
Spiritual Content: The God over Ishra is the dragon, Andalous. He had the flame which gave life to the world. Once he was slain, the darkness and rot began to take over.
Sexual Content: None. The male protagonist doesn’t wear a shirt.
Alcohol/Drug Use: None.
Positive Content: Fira is the main female protagonist. She wants to bring her family back from the evil rot sickness that has overtaken them. She is a mother who will sacrifice everything.
Other Negative Elements: Dark Souls’ message is that the god, Andalous, had the cure to the disease reaping the land. When the human species killed him, the cure was killed as well. Seems like the god of Ishra was not generous enough to share his healing with the land. Meanwhile, the humans ruin any chance for salvation by taking matters into their own hands. Dark Souls imagines a world where humanity is fallen, but the gods do not want to be the solution.
The world of Ishra was made bright by the light of Andalous’ fire. When humanity came, they brought death and sickness, which became like a living-dead disease. Andalous was slain by the warrior, Karamas, and the world got worse. Now Fira, seeing her family racked by the living death, seeks to find the pieces of Andalous to cure the world.
In her first adventure, she navigates a crystal maze with the Scryer, Aldritch, her guide. She is in search of the tooth of the dragon. In the second issue she must confront the king in the Weeping Forest. This is all part of the ritual to restore order. After fighting many undead, spiders, and facing the past, she is successfully in her quests. Only at the end of issue #2 does something tragic happen that fits the Dark Souls world very well.
Dark Souls does a very good job being dark and void of all happiness and hope. The comic book picks right up on that motif. The world of Ishra is plauged in shadows. The artist uses a colored pencil effect, which makes the terrain and the props of the world look devoid of any shine.
Fira is a strong female hero. She runs into battle headfirst. If she cannot find the solution by swinging her sword, then it cannot be found. Think of her like Liam Neeson in Taken. Her sidekick, the Scryer, is her guide to performing the ritual. Whether they are fighting their ghosts in the crystal maze or slaying spiders in the forest, they serve to plow through baddies.
True to the scenery, Fira and Scryer talk like Shakespearean characters. They sound epic when they yell, “I shall not die today!” It takes a bit to get used to, but it fits the world they live in. I can appreciate that Dark Souls is genuine to the art of the medieval dark ages and is not some anime world with big-eyed chibi beings. The comic captures that with their real-to-life figures.
The story tries its best to introduce any newcomers to the saga. It hasn’t been revealed what Fira’s motives are or her background. She meets up with the warrior who is known for saying, “Praise the Sun!” I am not sure of his purpose, either. All I know is that Fira is a mix of Conan the Barbarian and Frodo.
The end of the first issue, you can see all the concept covers. My favorite shows a warrior stabbing toward the reader with the line, “YOU ARE DEAD.” Others include dragons, monsters and a very cartoony “Praise the Sun!” pose.
By the end of the second issue, the reader is drawn into the dismal world of Ishra. Fira and Scryer are on a mission to save the land from darkness, and that is good news for us.
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+ Color pencil-styled drawings
+ Realistic and edgy characters
+ Great backstory
- I wish I knew more about the characters