Writer: Sebastian Girner / Artist: Galaad / Image Comics
Girner and Galaad are back again for the first time with Scales and Scoundrels #2! S&S is a breath of fresh air from cover to cover. We get a rare ‘bottle episode’ with this issue, with tight and intimate settings.
Swiftly, S&S drops us in with this newly formed squad of adventurers at the threshold of Dened Lewin. Lavender is about to do what Luvander does best: loot and plunder. She’s joined by the prince, his bodyguard Koro, and a dwarf guide named Dorma at the doors of the fabled dungeon. An exposition-rich campfire opens up the prince and Koro’s culture and backstory. Galaad and Girner drop yet another subtle hint here about the Urden myth. Lavender definitely burps up a little flame after trying Dorma’s stew, I’m not bugging, right?
Truly, they are really slick with slipping this elusive, dragon-type mythos into the narrative. It serves this new and unfolding world to engage readers’ interest with this supernatural layer in small doses. It’s the type of thing that’s gonna be really important later but gives us the incentive to stay with the story. As a device, it feeds this feeling that something is askew in the world, and won’t be directly addressed. A thorn in the reader’s mind. This ‘off’ feeling manifests in the form of Koro throwing hella shade at Luvander’s rough edges for most of the issue. I mean at length, just coming for Lu’s whole life. An ambush forces the group deeper into the dungeon and ends the issue with our first glimpse of Dened Lewen, aka “The Dragon’s Maw”.
Lastly, can we talk about how Girner has developed a composite Saxon language to give cultural depth to this world? A language that isn’t contrived or too similar to another fictional lexicon. S&S somehow samples RPG video game exposition while balancing god tier literary world creation with a pared-down, highly expressive art style. Overall, Scales and Scoundrels is proving that less can be more when building a world.
Reading Scales and Scoundrels? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.