Relic of the Dragon is a hardcover, full-color, comic book from artist Miguel Ángel García and writer Adrian Benatar. At the trim six of 6.25 x 9.25, Relic of the Dragon is like a half-size version of the European graphic album and the children's picture book.
Relic of the Dragon uses the classic you-choose-the-story format to tell the story of a dwarf forced to embark on a dangerous quest to find a new relic that will benefit his village. Relic of the Dragon combines elements of classic sword-and-sorcery RPGs (role-playing games) and classic sword-and-sorcery storytelling (Conan the Cimmerian), Norse sagas, and epic fantasy (The Lord of the Rings).
Relic of the Dragon introduces Urik the dwarf, a great warrior. A village elder has just consulted the “Oracle of the Gods,” and the word of the gods has revealed the arrival of a “new relic.” According to the elder, Urik is just the hero that can find “The Relic of the Dragon.” Urik is surprised to discover that he is the brave warrior who must obtain the relic, but he is a bit unsettled that the elder refers to him as “a tribute” rather than as “a brave warrior.”
Urik begins the quest to find “The Relic of the Dragon,” and he will need help from his trusty spirit guide if he is to find the relic and return home safe and sound. There is just one problem. You, the reader, are his spirit guide that will chose which path Urik will take every time he comes to a proverbial fork in the road.
THE LOWDOWN: I must say that Relic of the Dragon is such a wonderful, imaginative, and colorful comic book that I wish Miguel Ángel García and Adrian Benatar were the creative team behind at least one comic book based on a Robert E. Howard character (Conan, Kull, Red Sonja). Now, that I think about it, Relic of the Dragon has a bit of Sergio Aragones' Groo the Wanderer about it.
Benatar has written a surprisingly delightful story with many imaginative twists, turns, and traps. The variations are inventive enough that many readers will, upon finishing the story, go back and read the parts of the story they did not choose.
García's fantasy cartooning is the best that I have seen in quite a while, and his coloring is a storm of rich and vivid hues. Talk about eye candy; I can't help but keep flipping through this comic book that is almost an art book. Letterer Ron Estevez delivers lettering that highlights the epic fantasy and sword-and-sorcery in this story, but also manages to capture the wry humor that undercurrents this tale.
I like being surprised by comic books of which I did not expect much, and this comic book certainly surprised me. I hope that Relic of the Dragon is the first of many comics from Miguel Ángel García and Adrian Benatar produce.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of sword-and-sorcery RPG (even adults) and young readers will want to quest for Relic of the Dragon.