Editor's Note: Dragon Prince #1 arrives in stores Wednesday, September 10.
Ron Marz is one of the creative forces behind Top Cow's Witchblade and Broken Trinity. Now he's once again diving into the creator owned material pool with a four issue miniseries, Dragon Prince. This is a unique Top Cow comic in the fact that it welcomes all ages. It's clear from start to finish of this first issue that Marz wants this to be enjoyable for everyone.
It's a strong effort; I welcome the presence of more books like this as long as they are written as well and with as much personality. It seems to scream "Spider-man" as Marz jams teenage bullying and angst into the series opener. The story is about a boy named Aaron who is half dragon/half man with the ability to shape-shift. He doesn't know of his power until he stumbles on it when he burns a bully nearly to death. It's a defensive reaction moment that leaves him scared and confused.
It turns out, his father was a dragon who was hunted down and murdered by the Magi, a group of dragon hunters. As Aaron's mother fills him in on the details, it becomes time for the two to run as the threat of the dragon hunters draws near. So it's going to be a four issue spanning chase story, and so far so good. Onto my fears.
Like I said, this opener is a strong outing for a potentially decent series. It's not going to set trends or blow readers' minds, but it's more than likely going to be an enjoyable ride. That's what comic books are all about, right? Entertainment. My fear is that the moments I liked most--the teenage moments and the bullying moments--will be abandoned for something more hurried and infrequent. There are three issues left in the series. I'm concerned that it's just not enough to build in great character developing moments to give this series the necessary fuel. Marz does a fine job of setting the tone, but in the end he introduces a plot device--the chase--that may eliminate his tone entirely.
The only other snag I have with this book probably developed out of its own approachability. It has parts in it that make it feel like something that should be on Nickelodeon. I'm hoping that folks who read Top Cow books won't be put off by the Avatar feel of characters like the Magi. Some story points have a distinctive hokiness, so if you're offended by anything the least bit corny or cheesy then this story may not be for you.
But I've been harping on it this whole time, this book is an extremely strong effort and I'm excited by it. Anyone looking for a new, short series to dive into should pick up Dragon Prince. It's part Ultimate Spider-man, part Firebreather and all good. A great job by Marz.
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