Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dragon Prince #1 Review

Dragon Prince #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Lee Moder
Cover by Jeff Johnson and Stjepan Sejic
Published by Top Cow

Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Witchblade) and First Born: Aftermath artist Lee Moder have teamed up for Dragon Prince, which debuted on September 10th. Prince is a four-part miniseries that is a mix of modern day fantasy with martial arts action and mystic mayhem, and anybody a fan of the Jade Empire video game series or younger audiences that obsess over Ben 10 will surely get a kick out of the title.

Going through "the change" is never easy for teenagers, though Aaron Chang is going through something quite out of the ordinary. Aaron has always felt sort of ostracized by his peers because of his mixed heritage (his mother being Caucasian and his father being Asian) and often called things like "white rice". His mother is a fantasy writer, much to the chagrin of her son, who feels like he is too old for her "stories". One day at school however, he learns that he is very much indeed different from his school mates as he chars the school bully with his breath of fire. He returns home where his mother tells him of his true heritage. He is the Dragon Prince, last of his kind and heir to the bloodline of all dragons. Hunted to the brink of extinction by a secret society of magi, dragonkind's survival is now in Aaron's hands.

First off, let me just say I am a huge Ron Marz fan. He created my favorite Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and his narratives for Witchblade have been the best since she burst onto the scene in the late '90s. He's made it more reader-friendly, which is always a plus in my eyes. While I'm not too familiar with Moder's art, I like his style. It's not too rendered and his panels are competent enough that anybody from the age of 8 to 80 can understand. The ink and coloring mesh well. Nothing is lost or overdone. This is a book I really want to pick up to see where it leads. I don't think there are enough "fantasy" books out in the market now. True, you could debate that all superhero books are fantasy, they are, but I'm talking about more in the style of the Wheel of Time, Harry Potter, The 10th Kingdom, etc. While I enjoyed Battle Chasers back in the day, the book almost never came out on time and I just lost interest.

Dragon Prince is a PG-rated book that could be picked up for ages 8 and up. I plan on picking up a few for my friends' kids. The fact that the protagonist is thirteen years-old should only make the book more related to the younger readers who loved the Eragon series (Aaron is actually seen reading that). I've been an advocate for comics being for kids again- the market has gotten almost too gritty and downright depressing with its focus on the "everything changes forever" storytelling. Dragon Prince isn't that. Yes, it's a big story which will leave our young protagonist changed, but its great storytelling, easily accessible, While this was just the first issue, I'm expecting great things out of this story. More, please.

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