Writers: Robert McKenzie & Dave Walker
Artist: Justin Greenwood
Colourist: Daniela Miwa
Letterer: Simon Bowland
When we last left our hero Shahi she was hanging around with friend turned enemy Ling. Quite literally as they were in a cave dangling with a really bad drop the alternative. They weren’t exactly pleased to see each other and that remains the case as they have to work together to survive and perhaps find the cauldron of eternal life, both have strong familial reasons for doing so which are revealed here.
There’s some really nice character work with these two. In a way they are the only ones who could open up to each other. Their shared past can only be understood by the other. They know what drives each other and what their flaws are. It’s a really good way of delving into the characters by having the characters delve into each other so to speak. Getting the history and background of these two strong and clever women is a really good move in this, the penultimate issue.
For yes there is plot development as well. What I like though is just having the two characters for most of the issue, it makes the plot work better. The pacing feels better. It’s not a fast paced book but that doesn’t matter because it feels like there’s more room to breathe without being weighed down by mythology.
Back to the plot development and yes, there is a cauldron and yes they do find it. What happens after though is very interesting. There’s always doubt from Shahi about Ling even as they rely on each other to survive and that will become important later on. I won’t spoil the ending but the danger is not over yet.
Now to mention possibly my favourite bit of this issue, which is that the ancient beast guarding the cauldron is… A DINOSAUR. An actual honest to god T-Rex style DINOSAUR. I mean that was definitely going to get my excited for this book. I love how we dispense with mythological dragons in favour of a dinosaur, because that just feels so much more apt.
Put a DINOSUR in your book I am there and I was not disappointed here. The art of the dinosaur just works. A menacing predator who moves really dynamically. Really nice work. We never end up with a cartoonish depiction, the dino feels like a genuine threat. That’s all down to the art which is excellent once again.
There’s less action in some respects than previous issues, but even the quieter moments are really well done. The caves are full of atmosphere, helped by the colour palette. These feel like caves you’d be journeying through in a semi-mystical way. It’s not always easy to make backgrounds of essentially rocks interesting but here there is still some interest in those craggy rocks the cave is made from.
Overall this is a very strong penultimate issue that really benefits form the character focus. Also DINOSAUR. Probably my favourite issue of this series so far. The finale should be interesting, even if it will be lacking in prehistoric lizards.