Dungeon: The Early Years vol. 2: Innocence Lost
Written by Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim
Illustrated by Christophe Blain
Published by NBM
NBM’s English translations of Sfar and Trondheim’s humorous fantasy series, Dungeon, continues to prove that I enjoy fantasy far more than I ever suspected. Two more adventures of Hyacinthe, the future Dungeon Keeper (seen in the Dungeon: Zenith series), are compiled in this book, including the finale of his time as the avenging Night Shirt of Antipolis.
With Christophe Blain aboard as The Early Years‘ illustrator, “Dungeon” continues to look sharp, filled to the gills with imaginative character designs, fast-moving action, a magnificent sense of scope, and truly impressive use of shadows and light. Blaine’s ability to communicate details of the characters through their nuanced posture and facial expressions adds considerable depth and emotion to the witty and twisted script by the European masters Sfar and Trondheim.
Sfar and Trondheim are, of course, legends, and their combined writing showcases all their individual strength and more. The smart and witty dialogue keeps the story bouncy, yet they’re also able to pull back and allow the art to carry the narrative and establish the mood in multiple, high effective sequences, including the first story’s finale. In opposition to Dungeon’s overall light-hearted tone, the writing tandem also provides several dark twists, while jamming surprise after surprise into each scene. Dungeon has elements of parody, but its creators’ obvious love for the adventure-fantasy genres keep the characters real and the circumstances compelling.
Dungeon: The Early Years vol. 2: Innocence Lost is the latest reminder of the great work being done in comics, a testament to the fun, adventurous style of storytelling many readers claim to want from their sequential arts entertainment. Although Dungeon seems to be a successful series for NBM and its creators, it’s the type of high-quality, creepy, funny, startling fantasy that deserves an even wider audience.