Sfar and Trondheim’s Dungeon series is an epic in progress. In fact, there are three series running concurrently, all set on the same fantasy world, but taking in three different eras: the beginning, the zenith and the end. This book is the first in the latter series.
The planet Terra Amata has been stopped from spinning, leaving one half in perpetual darkness, the other in permanent daylight. Between the two is an area of twilight, neither day nor night, but effectively the only strip of land that can support life.
We follow the decrepit character of Marvin through this story – a once powerful warrior, reduced to blindness and limited powers, looking to try and earn himself a place for eternal rest in his race’s secret graveyard. On the way he picks up a talking bat to act as his eyes and an unwanted red warrior rabbit admirer, also named Marvin.
The pleasant surprise, though it will be no shock to fans of Dungeon, is that the book isn’t a po-faced, self-important fantasy cliché. It’s a beautifully paced, deftly crafted work of comedy, reverential to its fantasy roots but charged with some of the funniest, subtlest comedy you’ll find in comics.
If you aren’t a fantasy fan, don’t be put off. The power of the writing transcends its genre – it uses fantasy for its setting and situations but is no simple derivative hack and slash rip-off with gags. Fantasy fans, on the other hand, will be well aware of how many times their favourite genre has been parodied but the comedy here is sympathetic to the story, the characters retain plenty of depth and the plotting is given as much if not more weighting than any other element of the story.
This makes for a stunning piece of work, fitting snugly into the world that Sfar and Trondheim have created, and definitely recommended to those who like subtle, superbly executed comedy, especially if you can swallow the fantasy twist.
Other titles in the Dungeon series: