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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Warlord Wednesday: The Unfinished Dragonsword
I’ve discussed before some of the other fantasy and science fiction series that ran as back-ups in Warlord. Today, I’ll take a look at the saga of Dragonsword, appearing in Warlord #51-53. The series was written and created by Paul Levitz, with art by Tom Yeates.
Dragonsword tells the story of Thiron, an apprentice warrior of King’s Isle, sent by his masters to kill a dragon as an initiation. Thiron’s accompanied on this quest by his smart-aleck squire Dysillus, who is apparently a chimpanzee (though he refers to himself as a halfling at one point). The pair fairly quickly locate the dragon, and after a short battle, Thiron slays it.
Unlike a lot of tales of dragonslaying, that’s only the beginning of this story, not its climax. Thiron’s sword, bathed in the blood of the dragon, now seems imbued with the dragon’s spirit and power--and it talks in the dragon’s sibilant voice. This was apparently all according to Thiron’s master Jerrand’s plan, and that of King’s Isle’s ruler--the Archmage Anna--who mostly is called “Archmage,” presumably because “Anna” lacked the desired gravitas.
The Achmage plans to use Thiron and his dragonsword to kill her former partner,the Emperor Quisel, whose overstepped his bounds by acquiring a magical battle axe from a pact with the Netherworld. The Archmage says the axe is so powerful, it could perhaps leech all the magic out of the world and kill them all.
The whole group teleports to Quisel’s citadel so Thiron can slay him. They encounter skeletons along the way, butThiron easily bests them. One vanquished skeleton begins to warn Thiron that Jerrand and Anna are not to be trusted and will betray him. Jerrand crushes the skeleton to shut it up, and Anna quickly ushers Thiron along on his quest. Dysillus, at least, begins to get a little suspicious.
The group confronts Quisel. Anna aknowledges that her and Jerrand’s ancient vows won’t let them fight him, but Thiron can. Quisel taunts Thiron, asking if he’s bothered to ask why he was needed in all this, why didn’t Jerrand or Anna wield the dragonsword?
Thiron doesn’t listen to any of this and keeps fighting--that’s until Quisel disarms him. Thiron begs his companions to give him his sword, but they won’t. Anna says they cannot, that only Thiron’s own hand can save him.
Quisel, laughing, raises his axe for the killing blow...
And so the tale ends. Dragonsword remains incomplete to this day.
This short and unfinished series is interesting because its aesthetic is a bit more Medieval than most fantasy comics. It may show the influence of Prince Valiant, but perhaps owes some inspiration to the film Dragonslayer, which opened in June of 1981--though this was only a couple of months before Dragonsword’s debut.
Maybe one day Dragonsword will get a collection, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Addendum: Learned reader Austin points out my post title is fallacious and Dragonsword did indeed have an ending! It was featured in the next issue, but not noted on the cover. That's what I get for relying on the internet and not verifying. Ah, well! Expect a complete review at some point in the future.