Dark Souls: The Breath of Andolus: Short Comic Book Review

     As both a comic book fan and a Dark Souls fan, I must say that the Dark Souls comic has been a terrible experience.  At best, this is a generic fantasy story skinned with Dark Souls, and at worst it resembles the source material in name only.  The Breath of Andolus contains none of the elements that make Dark Souls such an appealing series.
     At its base it's the story of Fira, a soldier on a quest to reclaim a dragon's tooth in the land of Ishra.  It's the old story of an undead curse and someone attempting to right it.

     On perhaps the only good note, you can see that at the its core, the creators had the right idea by playing with the undead curse and its degradation on the minds of those it afflicts, but when it came to execution they eschewed the brilliant FromSoftware storytelling method in favor of pure over-the-top Hollywood-esque action scenes.  In the last issue, things got a very tiny bit better as we find that the unreliable narrator has had some memory problems due to the curse and her joyous past wasn't as great or nice as she had thought.

     The comic series holds none of the tension, tone, or perfectly tailored atmosphere of the games.  None of it.  The complex lore at the heart of the games is also completely non-existent here, seriously, the closest it comes is a couple name drops- as one of the two main characters is named Aldrich, who may be the Aldrich of the third game, but comes across nothing like his past was described in the game at all by Hawkwood as a "right and proper Cleric."  It's like they purposely ignored all the things that make the games so good, and they clearly don't understand that special magic the games hold.

     Then they relied so heavily on exposition that it's downright awful, with far too much talking, and the overabundance of the "Thy's and Thou's" being force fed to us is infuriating.  There's a good reason why the dialogue in the games is so sparse.  They give us only the barest information and allow us to find the story, we become part of the journey by learning and solving the puzzle as we go.  Here, they give us no mystery, no way to obtain that same rewarding realization we get from finding it ourselves in the games.

     I fully believe that a Dark Souls comic can be done properly with a much defter hand*, and a more appropriate art style, but with The Breath of Andolus, that opportunity has been wasted.  Hopefully Titan Comics will find a team better suited to the incredibly unique FromSoftware storytelling method.  I already see they have a second series (Dark Souls: Legends of the Flame) in the works from the same writer, George Mann and aided by Dan Watters, but different artists.  Alan Quar will be joined by Piotr Kowalski, and Damien Worm.  My hopes are already at the lowest possible point until they get a better crew to make these.

     If you are a true fan of the game series in any capacity, avoid this comic.  It isn't the intriguing journey of an unkindled.  This feels more along the lines of a poorly handled, uneven, meandering mess that is a story belonging to a nameless hollowed infantry soldier- meaning it's a waste of your time to even stop and deal with it.  It's much better to simply walk passed it.  Ignore these comics and just play the games, you'll appreciate them more.

*If I were to choose, I'd suggest Becky Cloonan as writer (see her By Chance or Providence series) with art by Mike Mignola.  And good gods, get someone like VaatiVidya to be editor on these books!

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