While Sfar and Trondheim’s Dungeon: Twilight series has had its dark moments, the mood is lifted somewhat in this third instalment. It isn’t light, by any means – what apocalyptic story could be? – but it simply isn’t quite so dark.
In the first chapter of the two included here, various factions of Terra Amata are battling it out over control of the Dark Fortress of the Grand Khan. There are some superb comic moments in here, mostly revolving around the fragile balance of power and how easily and randomly this can tip.
It’s the second chapter where things get interesting though. The two Marvins decide to leave the warring factions to their thing and set off to explore the fractured world a little more. They end up stuck on an island that’s rotating in space around the fiery core of the planet. This effectively means that everyone on this particular revolving chunk of has to keep moving, constantly, otherwise they’re going to fall off the island as it turns.
The talking bear-like creatures that inhabit the island have a number of ways to get around this. Some have sought refuge in crevices and caves, wedging themselves in while their section of the planet is on the underneath. Others keep moving, taking it in turns to sleep while being carried by a partner.
One enterprising individual has managed to create a house on a moving platform. This is pulled by slaves, who effectively exchange 16 hours a day of pulling the platform, non-stop, in exchange for eight hours rest in its beautiful garden. The house’s dictator spends his time inside the house, showering his slaves with gifts and charming them during their brief visits to his luxurious travelling mansion.
It’s a fascinating exploration of a bizarre dictatorial mini-society and is a prime example of the Dungeon series at its pinnacle – bringing imaginative, witty satire to this fantastical and wholly original setting. Funnier and more interesting than its Twighlight predecessors, this is an engaging story set on a spectacularly problem-ridden planet that’s truly out of this world.