Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arak: Year One

   In some ways it's probably better that I've come to this comic book now rather than when it was first published in the early 1980s because back then I didn't have the knowledge of history to pick up on the things that I'm catching now. As our Native American hero adventures through an alternate universe Europe, he ends up at the court of Carolus Magnus (Charlemagne) and gains a mentor and ally in Carolus Magnus's wizard adviser Malagigi. He also picks up a comrade in arms and love interest, the lovely female knight Valda, the Iron Maiden.
   During the first few issues Arak has quite a few Conan-esque adventures fighting sorcerers, man-eating trees, vampires, and the like, but as the series progresses he begins to run into beings from Greek mythology, including the last of the centaurs. Arak seemed to be witnessing a twilight of the gods, as the Greek deities had retreated from the earth and thus the magical beings of their kingdom have mostly died out.
   In issue #12, Arak helps the dying centaur to cross the river Styx into Hades, and almost ends up staying there when he manages to piss off Charon the ferryman. (Cue Chris de Burgh singing Don't Pay the Ferryman.)
   The end of that issue leaves Arak about to visit Byzantium. That should be fun. All and all I'm having a lot of fun with the series. My pal Cliff pointed out that it's probably helping to read them in a lump since the series got off to something of a slow start. Since I've read the first year's worth in about a week, I've been able to speed up the pace. Anyway, three years and an annual to go.

   Oh and if you didn't get the Chris de Burgh reference, go here:


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