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Kings Quest #3

Written by Writrzblok on Thursday, July 07 2016 and posted in Reviews

Kings Quest #3

A compelling tale of the storyteller becoming the story.

Source: Dynamite Comics

Written by Ben Acker and Heath Corson

Art by Bob Q and Dan McDaid

Colored by Bob Q and Omi Remalante

Lettered by Simon Bowland

When last we left our intrepid defenders of the Earth, they were caught in the calamitous clutches of Ming the Merciless, thanks to his new empress, Dale Arden! How did she fall under Ming's control? Is Ming using mind control on Dale? Why is she saying she's of her own mind while holding captive the people who love and care about her? And where is Ming the Merciless himself?

The last issue of Kings Quest had left me a little underwhelmed with the predictable ending to the heroes finding Dale as the empress and thrall of Ming. But here, the issue makes for an interesting twist which I would really rather not spoil here. Suffice to say, Dale Arden no longer chronicles stories. This time, she is telling HER story.

Kings Quest #3 presents an interesting and refreshing direction the writers have taken with Dale Arden and the reasons behind her decisions. Watching the events that led to the current moment unfold, I understand her position, if not entirely agree that it was the best course. We often see the story told only from the side of the heroes, but what of those left behind? What runs through the mind of those who stand on the sidelines?

We get the chance to see Dale's point of view at a critical moment in time and how it has colored her perceptions, particularly towards Flash Gordon. I got the sense that she harbors resentment for the space hero. Not just in the way she says "The 'mighty' Flash Gordon" but in how she responds when he does the usual "Snap out of it/get a hold of yourself, woman" that the old style heroes used to do. In essence, she's succeeded in doing something the great Flash Gordon has never truly been able to do.

The story itself has me guessing what will happen next and it ties into the serial nature of the comic strips that the King features characters like Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, The Phantom, Prince Valiant and Mandrake The Magician continue to this very day. I'm intrigued to see what the rest of the miniseries has in store. Fantastic flights of fancy, adventure, and excitement are what draw me to these characters time and again, and I'm happy to say the series still holds up in that regard.

It'd be easy to say that this issue grinds the progress to a halt, but I'd rather say that it only stops to take a much needed breath. Issues one and two were frantic, breakneck action pieces with little pauses sprinkled in for character introduction and establishment. Issue three takes the approach of fleshing out Dale's current predicament and the circumstances that led her to this point. It's still progressing the story, but simply making a pit stop before returning to the racetrack.

The artwork by Bob Q and Dan McDain is very good, but don't seem to gel in terms of their styles. Dan McDain, who was the artist on Kings Quest issues one and two previously, maintains a good visual storytelling style. It's very rough and frenetic with his line work, but I can still easily tell what's happening and am never lost for a second. His action scenes are dynamic and fluid.

In contrast, Bob Q's artwork is a lot cleaner, smoother, more well defined in his line work. It has a little more of an actual comic strip look to it, especially in his rendering of the classic depiction of Ming the Merciless and Klytus, Ming's second in command. As with McDain, he has a firm command on visual storytelling. The action sequences are powerful and impactful. You can feel each hit landed and see the disgust, horror, madness, and hopelessness on the faces of the characters. Along with Omi Remalante as colorist, Both Bob Q and Dan McDain make the art pop with bright and dazzling colors, knowing when and where to mute their brilliance.

However good their styles are, McDain and Q's art does clash when put up beside one another. I understand it's meant to separate the flashbacks from the present, but then it finishes with Q's artwork in the present time. However, I would like to point out that despite the stylistic differences, both artists were able to present seemless consistency in terms of what was presented in the panels. I commend the collaborative continuity.

In closing, Kings Quest #3 continues a compelling and exciting adventure despite being what some could call a breather issue.


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About the Author - Writrzblok

Jeff Gwinnup/Writrzblok is a comic book-loving, movie-watching, mac-and-cheese devouring Florida-born nerd who would like to write for a living one day. That is, if the inanities and stress of modern living don't kill him first. He's been reviewing/critiquing in either print or video form for almost seven years and shows no signs of stop- Wait, why is he writing in the third person? Who's typing this? WHO IS THIS?! GET AWAY FROM THAT KEYBOARD!
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