This comic couldn’t have come at a better time. I was, just today, thinking about immersing myself, again, in the world of Lothric and giving Dark Souls III a third playthrough. But there’s so much going on in my life right now that I really don’t have the luxury of throwing seventy-plus hours into a video game, so Issue #2 of the Titan Comics’ Dark Souls series is a concession that I happily made.
It’s been a while, so just to refresh you, in Dark Souls #1, we followed Fira and a Scryer named Aldrich – who, I can now confirm, is the same ‘Destroyer of Gods’ that players faced in Dark Souls III. The duo confronted a rather nasty enemy and retrieved some key artefact, namely, the Dragon’s Tooth.
Dark Souls #2 opens with an image of demons, dragons and hellfire. This is followed by Aldrich revealing a typical RPG twist: that the artefact from issue #1, by itself, cannot perform the required ritual. The tooth is merely one of three relics, all of which must be gathered if the duo wishes to succeed in their quest. And so begins their journey to the weeping forest to retrieve the second of these relics.
In terms of writing, the Baron Karamus lore is about as poetic as comic books get. And more than this, it perfectly fits the mould of the other stories we’ve heard in Dark Souls games. The comic also demonstrates some excellent dialogue: the exchanges between Fira and Aldrich provide an excellent narration to the events. Still, the nuances of the story, and Easter-Eggs therein, would probably be lost on the casual reader. But, I suppose, the same could be said for the games.
Again, there are obvious references to the games. The duo is swarmed in the forest by a group of spider-like enemies that emerge from nowhere. Of course, the battle is savage and Fira barely manages to triumph – a situation I’m sure many Souls fans are accustomed to. Ornstein’s spear gets a mention and the final battle – of Fira against the Everlord (or the Herald of Death) – is reminiscent of the series’ trademark boss battles.
The fight with the Everlord was quite dazzling to read, but his presence wasn’t quite the same as those of other ‘bosses’ in the series. Fira cockily declares that she expected more of a fight from a demi god, but…
And here’s a spoiler.
The issue’s conclusion sees Fira impaled upon the Everlord’s sword. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that I’m sure she won’t stay dead. Perhaps this repeatedly mentioned curse – spoken of by the comic’s characters and in its various back-stories – is the same Hollowing that afflicts the populations of the game worlds? But then again, the world of Dark Souls is savage and unforgiving; any fan of the games has learnt this time and time again. And maybe Fira’s fate will teach the comics’ audience a similar lesson.