Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Dune: House Atreides #5 - BOOM! Studios

DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES No. 5, March 2021
Despite predominantly focusing upon the exploits of Pardot Kynes and his desire to understand all that there is to know about the deadly Fremen, as well as young Leto Atreides’ harrowing flight through a rebellion-torn Ix, this twenty-two page periodical must still have proved something of a disconcertingly sedentary reading experience for many within its audience upon its release. For whilst this comic book adaption’s narrative does eventually portray a treacherous attempt upon the lives of both the Imperial Planetologist and the eventual ruler of Caladan, these somewhat exciting events don’t actually occur until the publication’s pedestrian plot is already two-thirds spent.

Regrettably, up until this point, all Issue Five of “Dune: House Atreides” provides its fans is a series of seemingly endless panels featuring lots of dialogue, plenty of political manoeuvring, and a fair amount of cordial greetings. Indeed, those bibliophiles more inclined towards dynamic action than conversational set-pieces might argue that much of what occurs before Uliet makes his unsuccessful assassination attempt upon Kynes, could easily have been truncated or even removed without this comic’s story-telling being even slightly impinged upon; “Will the old vulture never die? Why is it taking so long? You gave him the poison a month ago!”

Happily however, once “the revolt brewing on Ix” does take hold, then this book’s pace picks up considerably, and its debatably quite easy to imagine the horror unfolding before Leto’s eyes as his escape car flies through the city’s underground tunnels. Aghast at the carnage unfolding around him, the courageous young man’s commentary as to the destructive events taking place around him are enthralling, especially once it becomes clear that this well-planned insurrection isn’t the sole work of the Suboids, but rather Tleilaxu engineers who want to take the planet for themselves.

Adding enormously to this frenzy of death and demolition are Dev Pramanik’s layouts, which do an extraordinarily good job of depicting the combination of revulsion and excitement in Atreides’ face as he squashes it up against his automobile’s window to better see the barbaric frenzy unfolding before him. The Indian artist genuinely seems to capture the sheer chaotic rapidity of the revolution and its unhinged violence with his pencilling, as well as generate the ‘zip’ of the Ix car as it flies through a maze of sprawling channels in its desperation to convey its passengers to some semblance of safety.

The regular cover art of "DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES" #5 by Evan Eagle

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