Independently Well Done highlights completed and/or noteworthy story-arcs published by indie and small press creators.
Written By: Nathan Pride
Art By: Nathan Pride
Published: January 2016 by Archaia
Once more we return, on this very fine day, to discuss, analyze, and cheer the greatest of comics. As we said last Thursday, for the month of December we’re going to be looking at the series Storyteller. These books have been around for some time, and the latest series, Dragons, has honestly captivated me like no other. Maybe it’s because I love dragon lore, and the idea of doing a series of comics based in and around all kinds of dragons captivates me. It could possibly be due to the fact that these comics are simply unbelievable. The art, story, characters, pacing, everything, it’s all top notch and entertaining. This week we get into the second of four, wherein we’re given quite the surprise at the end.
In this story we follow a young, brash, arrogant…and really annoying, young heir of the land of Lambton, John. This guy sucks, big time. I don’t mean that the way the character is written sucks, this character is written so well that I truly didn’t like him for most of the book. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what Pride was attempting because through our dislike of this character we’re drawn into the situation that arises all the more.
The story starts off as John (the jerk…that’s my own nickname for him…suck it John) strolls through the town of Lambton, as he always does, doing jerk things. We’re informed that at some point on his walk he takes a fishing pole from a child, trips a blind guy, and steals food from a street vendor. This guy, who is freaking royalty, is literally taking stuff from the people of his own land…oh my gosh I hate this guy.
Once John gets bored of harassing the people he decides it’s time to show off his amazing skills…girls love guys with skills. He sets about to catch the largest fish of the lake, yet, it appears as though jerky John lacks that particular skill. What’s a guy to do? For John, he then curses out the lake, embarrasses himself, and decides to cast one last line into the infernal waters. From this cursed cast, John drags up an vile looking snake/worm, which disgusts him further since it’s not a fish. He curses at the snake-worm, and for some crazy reason, John tosses it into a well. What crap John? People drink from that well…you jerk
As it’s to be expected, John doesn’t care, and decides that Lambton is holding his excellence back, so he sets out to adventure throughout the land. His father tells him that his arrogance and attitude won’t play out in the world, to which John just scoffs and rides off. It’s at this point that I’m thrilled John the jerk is out of the picture.
Oh wouldn’t you know it, John leaves, but his crap decisions come back to wreak havoc on the town he called home. A side note here, I’m going to rant for a second because this feels so typical. The bratty heir to the throne acts like a butthole, decides he’s bored and all the consequences of his actions are dropped into the lap of everyone else as he’s off doing whatever he wants….OH I HATE JOHN.
Over the course of the book we watch as the snake-worm grows and grows, ends up escaping the well, and in turn wreaks havoc everywhere. It ends up claiming the river as its hangout spot during the day, a comfy field at night, and whenever it gets hungry the farmer’s livestock from around town fills its belly. Cows, sheep, pigs, this snake thing is eating like it’s king of the lizard people.
We learn that Snakey McTerror ends up with a taste for milk, thus prompting the ruler of the land, John’s dad, to take action. For as long as the people can supply, everyday a giant trough is filled with milk as sort of a peace offering to this monster, and it works.
As long as the milk runneth over, this snake thingy is cool with leaving people alone. Unfortunately, the cows of the land can’t crank out the juice fast enough and supplies are being depleted quickly. It’s not looking good for the ole people of Lambton…and that’s when John returns…seven years later.
Freaking John, you left your poor town to deal with this cursed snake-worm monster for seven years, and then you’re all confused as to what happened to home. He ends up talking with his dad, who is looking like he died three weeks ago but nobody told him so he’s still just lingering around, and John learns he messed up…like real bad.
John vows to fix it, because apparently after seven years of being out in the world, and probably getting his butt flipped over his head for being a jerk, our newly returned John actually has a redeeming quality. He understands he messed up and now wants to fix it. It’s at this point that John goes to some oracle witch lady who tells him he can defeat the beast, but there’s stuff he has to do, to which John agrees. There’s an epic battle, and I’m going to stop here because spoilers.
I will say that he ending of this book left me in shock for a great many reasons, and frankly, I couldn’t have been happier with how it all ends up. To make note, I wasn’t familiar with Nathan Pride before this book, but after seeing this awesome story and wonderfully expressive art, I’m definitely a fan now. This entire series is just top level comic’ing done correctly. I honestly have no complaints, and nothing but praise for these books. We’re going to hit the third dragon story next week, but my recommendation is to go get yourself this series and enjoy what can easily be described as modern fairy tales, with a twist.