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Dungeon Twilight: Vol. 4: The End Of Dungeon by Sear, Trondheim, Alfred and Mazan (graphic novel review).

July 9, 2021 | By | Reply More

Diving into a comic-book series with the final collection is probably not the best approach, and to be fair to this book, it is very much about tying up loose ends from the earlier stories. On top of this, the book is very much a European graphic novel rather than one from the English or American traditions.

The artwork is ornate and busy and the text leans more towards satire than gags or drama. Similarly, the situations the characters deal with touch on philosophical themes such as the nature of existence and whether a warrior is best measured by his physical or mental strength.

There’s a lot going on but the gist is that a certain fantasy world, Terra Amata, has been exploded by a Dark Entity into many smaller fragments. These are losing their breathable air and the Entity’s troops are forcing survivors to his allegiance in return for air to breathe. Our heroes fight against this and include a peculiar assortment of anthropomorphic animal including a rabbit called Herbert, his daughter, the cat-like Zakatu and a dragon-like being called Marvin.

Zakatu teams up with Red Herbert, a young warrior rabbit, and while passing through ‘Babar Land’ (home, of course, to anthropoid elephants), she discovers her true calling as an armoured warrior. In the meantime, Marvin and Herbert are recruiting allies and forcing the Dark Entity to react, eventually culminating in a succession of body-swaps as the heroes try to defeat the seemingly invincible Entity.

The volume wraps up with a distinctly bittersweet ending, with the characters accepting their mortality and then through a series of flash-forwards, their legacy slowly fades and becomes forgotten. This contrasts nicely with the idea put forward that heroes fight not just against physical enemies, but also against time itself: a hero’s reputation being a thing that will, in some sense, last forever. As appealing as that idea might be, the authors of this volume make it clear that it is, ultimately, just an illusion.

It’s hard to know just how good ‘The End Of The Dungeon’ would be on the back of a single volume and a concluding one at that. The art is very much of its own, distinctive type hard to compare with anything else.

Similarly, being a translated text, the dialogue, while perfectly adequate, doesn’t have quite the same fizz as the graphics. It all felt a bit bewildering at first but, taken at face value, there’s a lot here to enjoy if you enjoy European graphic novels and appreciate the fantasy fiction genre being satirised within its pages.

Neale Monks

July 2021

(pub: NBM, 2015. 96 page graphic novel medium softcover. Price: $14.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-56163-919-9)

check out website: www.nbmpub.com

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Category: Comics, Fantasy

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