Zeb Larson reviews Autumnlands #7…
NEW STORY ARC. The second arc begins. Wounded and lost, our heroes seek safety, but find…something bizarre.
After a long (too long, but oh well) hiatus, Autumnlands is finally back and in fine form. After the cliffhanger that we ended on in the sixth issue, we’re now following two different narratives: Learoyd and Dunstan as they try to survive in the wilds, and Gharta and the other beasts who were saved by another city. This issue is mostly an introduction back to the series now that the narrative has been split, and not a great deal happens in terms of action. However, it’s just nice to have such a promising fantasy series back, and there are hints at the future direction that the series will take.
Learoyd and Dunstan narrowly survive their fall into the river, in no small part thanks to Dunstan dragging Learoyd out. The other animals make it aboard the city, and Sandhorst and Gharta waste no time in going back to fighting. They’re forced to make peace by Lord Tallon though, who wants a full briefing on what happened, and presumably some news about the Champion. Dunstan tells Learoyd a bit about the way that magic works and how it’s fading, though Learoyd has no useful answers. Learoyd is also having visions of something mechanical, though Dunstan can’t see any of it.
There are a few interesting threads to pull at in this issue, apart from the general pleasure of reading this series again. Whatever goes on in the city will have to address the Champion, and moreover the threat that the Champion poses to their whole system of believing. He’s not a beast, he clearly possesses no magic, and saying that his behavior is unorthodox is a wild understatement. We already know that Sandhorst is more than comfortable with the Champion being dead. How will Tallon react to all of this? And meanwhile, what is Gharta going to do?
Meanwhile, back in the wilderness, Learoyd and Dunstan have plenty of threats to deal with. Seven-Scars is still alive, still out there, and presumably hungry for vengeance against the both of them. Where they go next and who if anybody will help them is a fair question. Moreover, Dunstan bringing up the fading Hatsas raises the question how Learoyd is connected to all of this. And what about the mechanical strider only he can see, seemingly creating ripples in the Autumnlands?
Let’s hope the next hiatus isn’t quite as brutal as this one. Everything works here, again: the art, the novel-within-a-comic, the link between magic and technology, and the contrast between legend and reality. Cheers.