Friday, December 4, 2015
"--I do believe that reminds me of a story."
Jim Henson's reputation as a storyteller is probably second to none. Anything with his name on it guarantees a certain level of imagination and creativity that's difficult to match. Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons #1 from Archaia is no exception. The issue is written by Fabian Rangel, Jr. (story by Daniel Bayliss), illustrated by Bayliss and lettered by Warren Montgomery.
Dragons have taken many different shapes in cultures across the world, from serpents and “worms” to thunderbirds and the classic European firebreather. “Son of the Serpent” is inspired by Native American stories about the Horned Snake and the Thunderbird.
At its core, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons #1 is about the relationship between a father and son. Rangel emphasizes that relationship as a means of conveying a message of understanding between one another what seems to be a world of differences. The gulf between parent and child can often be expansive at times and Rangel's use of the dragon to emphasize this is pretty warming. Rangel uses a storyteller at the beginning to recount the tale of bonding and that method adds a sense of lore to the entire tale. There's plenty of action throughout the story despite the seemingly "boring" message and that action keeps pace with the emotion exhibited by the characters.
There are clear Native American influences in Bayliss' art style that are pervasive throughout the issue. The father strongly resembles a member of a Native American tribe, while the markings on the dragon and Thunderbirds evoke images of tribes of the southwest. The fierce battles between the dragon and thunderbirds feel frenetic and riveting, underscoring the ferocity of the opponents. Bayliss also does some interesting things with panels to stress the forces of nature--for instance, when the thunderbirds are introduced there's an interesting three-panel split that offers the birds coming from multiple directions. The vibrant colors of the book also keep things visually interesting, with the dragon sporting an array of black, red and gold colors that present him as a proud creature.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons #1 is a fantastic story that taps into an endearing bond between father and son. There are misunderstandings that seem to litter those relationships and the fact that the father and son can overcome one such misunderstanding is a testament to the overall bond present. Rangel's tale is clean and feels as if it could be passed down from generation to generation. Bayliss' art is vibrant and demonstrates that there are thing in nature that dwarf even the most powerful humans. Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons #1 is a great issue that offers a sound message.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons #1 is in stores now.