Advance Review: Tests, Allies And Enemies In Sword Of Ages #3

by Oliver MacNamee

They may not quite be The Fellowship of the Ring, but Avalon’s band of brothers could be the best bet this planet has got as off-worlder, Morgan, pits indigenous peoples against each other and often like the colonialists of yesteryear in their behaviour towards said people. With their advanced technology, Morgan and his Black Star Templar troops have taken sides with the barbaric Red Clan in an attempt to disrupt the fragile faith driven societies upon this planet.

With the titular Sword of Ages now found – and after only two issues too – our hero, Avalon, and her newfound allies spend a lot of this issue sitting back to assess the situation. A situation that soon gets out of control as Avalon’s own people send forth their champion and master, Lord Huss, to meet that of the Red Clan, in deadly duel. Both believing the gods are on their side. Something, the tech savvy colonialists seem to laugh at. Just as the early Christian missionaries probably laughed at the religious beliefs of the people they massacred and brainwashed throughout history. And, just like them, Lord Morgan believes these indigenous people to be barbaric, one and all, and it’s his duty to civilise them! Yep. Nothing sells a elite ruling class’s plans to educate and civilise a populace they deem below them like military action, right? Civility through barbarism!?

In just a couple issues, Gabriel Rodriguez has not only fleshed out his world to include a vast number of diverse peoples, tribes and cultures, as well as well realised dwellings; from meagre homesteads to palatial decadence, but he’s knocking it out of the park with this Hero’s Quest adventure. Avalon has already crossed the first threshold, gained a magical weapon and met with tests, allies and enemies, in a book unashamedly borrowing from Propps, Todorov and Campbell, and one full of Arthurian names, subtle (and not too subtle) references and echoes to that legend. But, she still has a long way yet to go, it would seems she returned to her home and a scene of conflict unfolding before her eyes. Now, in this third issue, the political machinations of Lord Morgan, which we saw hatched last issue, are the focus as he gives help to Lord Huss’s enemy in order to, no doubt, bring ‘civilisation’ to this mud ball. That, or more likely really, consolidate power over all he surveys, regardless of being an adopted son to this planet.

It’s a darker issue as tragedy is the order of the day and Avalon, Trystan, Lancer and all round scoundrel, Gawyn, watch most of the action from the sidelines. Clearly she and her mates are the David that will be entrusted to bring down Lord Morgan’s Goliath but, she may have at least one more test ahead of her given the last page reveal.

Sword of Ages #3 arrives from IDW on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018.