Issue #4 is on it’s way out – it should hit physical and digital shelves on March 16 – which is why I’m sitting down to review this. I was interesting in this series from the beginning, so I actively avoiding reading it. The wait for a 4-issue miniseries isn’t especially long, and I find the wait between issues excruciating. If I had known anything at all about The Storyteller, I imagine I could have avoided this.
For the uninitiated (like myself, 10 minutes ago) the Storyteller comes from a TV series that aired in 1988, created and produced by Jim Henson, which retold and explored European folk tales. Like the episodes of the TV series, the comics are independent of each other – so now I’m annoyed that I waited to read the first one. Because it really is a lovely tale.
Each of the four issues explores a story around Dragons. #1 draws from Native American mythology and mythological creatures and tells the story of a father and his son, and their encounter with a Horned Serpent. There isn’t a whole lot that I can say about the story without giving too much away, but it’s a beautiful read.
The writing is simple and precise, the narrator’s style leaves no doubt about how he earned his name, and creature design in particular is fantastic. I love the serpent and the thunderbirds; Daniel Bayliss has done a fantastic job of bringing mythology to life.
There is, of course, a twist at the end as is common with stories of this sort and, although you may see it coming – I did – that doesn’t diminish it’s emotional payload in any way. I think it’s testament to Bayliss’ writing and art that you can see the twist coming, watch it unfold before your eyes, and feel your heartstrings yanked on by it anyway.
I don’t know if the Storyteller himself was really necessary, strictly speaking, because – as much as I like his character – the framing story doesn’t really have any overarching purpose beyond the delivery of the narrative and that could just as easily have been handled by a disembodied narrator. And the story itself was so engaging that I quite forgot the frame was there until it intruded upon my consciousness on page 8.
I am, however, extremely fond of the Storyteller’s dog. He was, I must say, an excellent inclusion. But besides the Storyteller himself, I have no gripes at all with this book.
So to sum this up …
There is no good reason to not buy this book. The story is genuinely moving; the book is fast without being rushed; and I really, really enjoyed the art. #1 of Dragons is a really, really good start to the series and Bayliss has set the bar pretty high.
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