It’s straight into the action with the latest Dark Souls comic, which is good because Winter’s Spite Issue one was, admittedly, rather slow. This new issue, however, is a much needed change of pace that works off the foundations laid by Issue one to tell a fast and violent chapter in Andred of Ithvale’s story.
Trapped in a colosseum type prison, Andred stands before the behemoth we saw at the conclusion of Issue 1. The two trade blows, fighting as their prison demands: for their very lives. Eventually, the knight lures the creature to strike the chain that confines him to the arena. The two break free. The creature turns its attention to the Master – a shady pyromancer that presides over the arena – and exacts its revenge, while Andred makes quick his escape.
As he walks through the cells, other prisoner’s beg for Andred’s assistance, but he offers none. He instead turns his attention and rancour to the jailers. After slaying his captors, the knight is free to continue his quest. But in the frozen wastelands beyond the prison, Andred faces a new danger. Alone and in the cold, his will begins to fade. The knight finds himself ready to give up when a female apparition appears and begs him to follow her to a distant manor. As seems to be the historical tradition, the idea of a damsel – and particularly a distressed one in need of rescue – spurs Andred to action. And he begins his search for the manor with a newfound fervour.
He finds solace from the cold in a cave where the remnants of another traveller’s camp allow him to kindle a fire. As is almost always the case in the Dark Souls universe, Andred’s peace lasts only a moment. A group of warriors enter the cage and confront Andred – each one heavily armoured and riding atop an almost as heavily armoured polar bear. Fearing neither their number nor their steeds, Andred meets these knights in combat. This time, however, he doesn’t fare so well. And just as Andred’s demise seems apparent, a powerful figure steps into the foreground and calls a stop to the violence. This figure calls himself Duke Etinger – a name that is both stately and demanding of respect – and he declares that Andred now belongs to him.
Like Issue 1, the latest addition to the Winter’s Spite series leaves us hanging with its ending. Though, it seems a safe guess to say that Andred is destined, once again, for captivity. Still, despite the bleak storyline and the ostensible absence of hope, Winter’s Spite Issue 2 tells an addictive tale. Perhaps it’s the dazzling detail or the juxtaposition of the gore on the ice-covered environments, or perhaps it’s Andred’s charisma as a protagonist. Whatever the case, I eagerly await the future instalments.