The second installment of multimedia comic The Damned Meanderers is a smaller one than the first, but a huge step in the right direction with a lot more pace and adventure, helping to move the tale along a little – and somewhat unexpectedly too. Where Chapter One was very slowly paced and demanding to read/enjoy, Chapter Two is the "surprise" of the series – that hits like a mace to the nuts.
In the first issue, we were introduced to the world of Avani’Ni, suffering from the almost eternal scoring of ancient warfare. An old line of elite warriors, perceived as evil and known as The Sovrin, have returned in the form of one individual who reminded me of a Sith Lord version of the main character from Assassin’s Creed. No, truly, it did, it was pretty bad ass!
To bring forward a plan to bring back life and prosperity to Avani’Ni, the wizard Thoroar sends his apprentice Daz through a magic portal to deliver him northwards to a collaborator who can help. He is injured in the process, and what develops is a duel to the death between the wizard and the Sovrin.
Moseying on into the second issue, we ascertain that not only did Daz (referred to as the Mage Dazanorl in this chapter) survived his injuries after traveling through the portal. It is here that he is rescued by Gillo and Greer (dwarf and human respectively), who nurture him back to health, and begin to take him on his journey further northward.
However, located on a mountain in the desert, the small fellowship come under attack from a gang of orcs, accompanied by a rock troll, and they must test their wits in battle (for Daz, test his magic skills in battle) before moving onwards.
The presentation of The Damned Meanderers in this chapter is immeasurably better than the first. The characters are on par with the first, but the manner in which the slides are shown are better timed and paced. The music is much better with this issue as well.
The writing for Chapter Two is also an incredible improvement over the first. In the midst of the last issue we were placed into a situation with lots of exposition to set the scene, done in a manner that didn’t serve the story very well. Now with that out of the way, we have a much shorter issue that follows – but it is made up for it with improved writing. Some of the dialogue at times is a little redundant, though it’s barely noticeable alongside the abovementioned improvements. You will like this one much more than the first one.
The artwork is a tad better too – with much more work placed in the expression of the characters. Dazanorl seems to have come along a bit further in visual development, with much attention paid to his character design, appearing a lot more mature as well. What really kicks ass though is the bloodspatter in the motion frames during the battle sequence. This was a welcome inclusion, and will be a delight to any who read the comic. Additionally, the "rock troll off the mountain" sequence is amusing.
More attention has clearly been paid to the writing value and presentation for this chapter of TDM. For the most part, some folks could probably overlook the first chapter and skip to this one – but even with its faults, I’d recommend actually checking out the first one as it does (mind-numbingly) lay the groundwork for the universe and sets the scene.
As for this chapter – again I’d recommend it for fans of fantasy and D&D – yet I think casual comic readers looking to read something a little different might enjoy this experience in Chapter Two. Definitely worth a glance!