Previous entries into the Dark Souls comics have been good, but rarely have direct connections to the video games that they’re based upon, content with telling their own stories within the universe. As such, they’re good but sometimes lack a little something that makes them special. Dark Souls: Age of Fire bucks that trend by not only having connections to the games, but telling an origin story for several of the characters that appear and exploring some of the lore in greater detail than we’ve had before.
Whilst the first issue began the important process of setting up characters such as Knight Artorias the Abyss Walker, and Ornstein the Lion Knight way before the events of the first game, the second issue is where the story really starts to move forward, and these characters are put on the path that will lead them to their eventual fates.
One of the enemies that players are sure to remember from the first game are the black knights, once proud warriors cursed and burned to ash who now wander the world as disembodied spirits. Here we see the beginning of this transformation, as Arkon, a silver knight, actually fall victim to this curse. It’s a dramatic moment, and one that fans of the game have been hoping to see for a long while.
Even knowing it’s coming, the moment still manages to surprise in it’s execution, and you can’t help but feel awful for Arkon and his men because you know their eventual fate.
This issue also gives us a look at Artorias, another character that players will remember fighting in the games. Whilst we got a deeper look into Arkon, Artorias is still something of a mystery here, though his appearance is pretty damn cool. Appearing in the middle of a battle against the undead, coming to the aid of Gravis and Wurdow by decapitating several skeletal warriors.
There’s not a great deal of story within this issue, with most of the page count being handed over to fighting and action sequences, but the small moments of story that you do get go a long way into exploring some of the beloved lore of the Dark Souls universe, and as such is sure to satisfy many fans.
Anton Kokarev provides the art for the book, and there’s not a great deal that can be said about it other than it’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s hard to tell how he produces his art, whether it’s 100% hand painted, or if there are computer generated images involved as well, but however it works, it works wonderfully. It gives the story a richness and sense of grandeur that may have been missing if this was more traditional comic art. The painted style definitely fits with the idea that this is an ancient history being told to the readers.
The artwork also looks amazing during the action sequences, with the blood and fire effects standing out as particularly good, jumping out of their panels. Any panel could be taken from this book and made into a poster, a piece of art that could hang on your wall. All comics are pieces of art, but here it feels like a work of art, images that even people who turn their noses up at traditional comics would look at and take a moment to appreciate.
Dark Souls: Age of Fire #2 is now available from Titan Comics.