Sojourning times four

April 22, 2004

By Avi Green

Okay, here’s a few short reviews of recent issues of Sojourn for everybody to enjoy. And they were quite good filling and a treat together.

Sojourn #26
Writer: Ian Edington
Artist: Greg Land

Arwyn may have evaded capture by the troll armies of Mordath being led by Bohr, but meanwhile, we can see that Mordath’s got some troubles of his own with rebellious trolls who don’t accept a human’s being their warlord. And they’ve got a weapon to aid them against him: vorpal blades, a kind of magic-like knife dipped in the blood and substance of dragon fangs. But Mordath manages to stand against them, due to their incompetence, and we then see that the one who’s really behind the test to see if Mordath’s killable is an evil mage named Lord Pallias. With a woman named Dodona being forced to aid him as he plots to take over the rule of planet Quin, blindfolded she is as well, it is Pallias’ intent on trying to manipulate Arwyn to help bring about the downfall of the living dead warlord.

Not bad for a look at what’s happening over on the villain’s side of the fence, the rebellion that takes place even from his own side, and an interesting first peek at the new adversary for Arwyn and company.

Sojourn #27
Writer: Ian Edington
Artist: Greg Land

Gareth and Cassie have found Arwyn, or rather, she’s found them, and has something to say to the latter for what she perceives as betrayal and a double-cross, but Cassie manages to convince her that she’s innocent and only meant to swipe the fragments of Ayden’s arrow already collected so that they wouldn’t fall into the hands of the enemy. With that part straightened out, they then head for a sea port, where they intend to travel to the snowy lands of Skarnhime in search of the remaining fragments of the arrow of Ayden. But, bad luck is at it again, and it turns out that the captain and crew of the ship they’re on are slave traders who’re intent on taking Arwyn and Cassie prisoner so they can sell them into slavery themselves. Luckily, they manage to turn the tables on their captors…but Lord Pallias is telescoping the proceedings, and with still plenty of pirates to deal with, he moves his heavy hand, and a giant octopus is summoned from the depths of the ocean that wrecks the ship to smithereens…

Pretty good too. We get to see more of Arwyn plying her trade of fighting skills, and I was impressed at how Gareth knows how to fool the villains here into thinking he’d fallen for their poison in the drink he gave them. I liked that gorgeous Land-drawn cover as well, which was perfect for Arwyn as well.

Sojourn #28
Writer: Ian Edington
Artist: Greg Land

When they awaken, it appears that the travelling trio survived to end up on an island in the sea, populated by a mad scientist, which, given the kind of swashbuckling world this is set in, is clever indeed. How often does the idea come up in an environment like this? Not too often from my experience. Oh, and not just the mad doc is a resident: plenty of living dead zombies are on this island too, the remains of the crew of the king who journeyed to this strange place in search of a bizarre sea creature, and to avoid possible execution for failing to find it, the doc poisoned them and turned them to his own use. Not to mention that island actually moves around, all over the ocean, which enables the scientist to gather his resources.

They capture Arwyn, Gareth and Cassie for a brief moment, so that the doctor can try and use them for chemical experiments, but the group escapes, and then bests the zombie army. And then, lo and behold, it turns out that this island is actually the back of the very sea beast the scientist and the king he worked for were looking for all along, much to his dismay, given how much he’d hoped to discover it in the first place, and even more so when it just ups and takes a dive into the sea submerging everyone, but not before Cassie has a chance to tell Gareth that she loves him.

This was a pretty fun outing, combining elements I myself usually expected to see in a more advanced time period, and what’s additionally amazing is that in a scene that shows the mad scientist when he was younger, he seems to look almost like Sean Connery! The cover with Arwyn and Cassie in sexy swimsuit-like gear is another plus.

The sad thing though is that it looks like Arwyn’s faithful dog Kreeg is dead, which really angers her. She tells Gareth how her husband first gave him to her when he was a puppy, and she’d really grown to love him since then. It does, however, give her an additional motive for bringing down Mordath.

Sojourn #29
Writer: Ian Edington
Artist: Greg Land

Arwyn and Cassie awaken to find themselves in a plush bed in what appears to be a harem, where Gareth has already become acquainted with several beautiful ladies who reside in it. They’d slept three days since being submerged by the sea creature in the last adventure, and now, here they all are in an odd harem. And wouldn’t you know it, it turns out to be living quarters for a bunch of humanoid dragons, who can change between human and dragon form, which certainly spells trouble alright. Not only that, but Pallias, having figured out where they are, comes up with a way of getting Arwyn to visit him, through the looking glass (no joke!).

This is one of the best episodes so far, with Gareth trying to be macho and hoping that Cassie won’t take him to task for his infidelity by going shirtless for most of the issue, which doesn’t work. And it also serves as an excellent opportunity for Greg Land to draw some more hotties, those being the humanoid dragons here, into the book. It’s wonderful indeed.

Sojourn #30
Writer: Ian Edington
Artist: Cliff Richards

Now that the humanoid dragon ladies know that the man, Gareth, whom they thought was the male dragon is really just a hoax, they’re out for his blood. And to make matters worse, the male humanoid dragon has returned to the roost, and he’s plenty mad at Gareth too. So he too joins the chase, while at that very moment, Arwyn is meeting with Lord Pallias, who lies to her about being Mordath’s son, and tries to damage her trust in Neven, the lady who’s been their guide. So now that all this has been done, upon her getting back to the regular planet plane, we can only wonder what’ll happen next, now that Arwyn knows about Pallias, and I can only hope that Dodona will be able to help.

While this issue was okay, having looked over the artwork, I can see why anyone would feel that it doesn’t work well without Land’s stunning artwork. It lessens the feeling quite a bit, and while there are some interesting developments to be had here, the fill-in by Richards doesn’t come as good, partly because he seems to be trying to copy Land’s angles far too much. (And even Arwyn’s butt doesn’t register well enough here.)

This has been overall a nice amount of stuff, but the ending artwork was a serious drawback. It’s good that Land is returning next issue.

Copyright 2004 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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