THE ORDER OF DAGONET #1
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Art: Jason Strutz
Firetower Studios $4.00
Matt C: It's a novel premise: when England is beset by reawakened and pissed off faeries, Merlin returns to round up some new Knights to protect the "green and pleasant land" from being overrun. As there are no proper sword-wielding knights kicking around anymore, the ancient wizard recruits a selection of men that the modern-day public now look up to: celebrities! So we get introduced to an Ozzy Osbourne analog, the author of Harry Potteresque novels, and an aged thespian slumming it in big budget genre movies (Ian McKellen?). It's an amusing twist on Arthurian tropes and the characters are introduced in an engaging manner.
Whitley brings a healthy level of wit to the proceedings, obviously not taking things too seriously, although some of the attempts at satire don't always hit their mark. The scenes set in the Houses of Parliament are - I'm assuming - intentionally over-the-top; I certainly can't remember a time when MPs engaged in fisticuffs (although that would surely make the BBC Parliament channel compulsive viewing if there was a chance of that occurring!). The artwork requires a little more clarity on occasion as certain scenes are a bit 'busy', but on the whole it does evoke a certain British sensibility, with Stutz’s vibrant colour palette providing an absorbing visual experience.
As is often the case when it comes to an American perspective on British culture, some of the dialogue and mannerisms don't ring true, but there's nothing especially distracting from the overall storyline. I know some of my fellow comic-book-reading countrymen take umbrage with non-Limeys attempting to utilize the Queen's English for entertainment purposes, but I don't have a problem with that since a great many writers of American comics reside on these shores. Let's just say it "Bollocks" and not "Bullocks" and be done with it!
The Order Of Dagonet does run into trouble at its conclusion: several key players are put into place but it then ends rather abruptly without leaving anything in the way of a hook or cliffhanger. What it really needed was sense of where the story is going next, an idea of the mission Merlin would task his new knights with, and their responses to it. The core idea behind the book is solid with a lot of potential to go places - it's a shame the final page doesn't leave you gasping for more. The creators obviously have big plans for their story and there's plenty of imagination at work within these pages. A little more vigour and urgency and this series could definitely have legs. 6/10
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