Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
Illustrations: Dev Pramanik
Colours: Alex Guimaraes
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Jae Lee & June Chung
Release Date: 27th January 2021
Neatly bookended by the increasingly tense exploits of Duncan Idaho on the Harkonnen Homeworld of Giedi Prime, as well as containing an abundance of misadventures featuring this comic book adaption’s considerably-sized cast in between, issue four of Dune: House Atreides certainly seems to pack an awful lot of action within its twenty-two page count. Indeed, with the odd notable exception, such as when Reverend Mother Gaius Mohiam’s unpleasant impregnation by the Baron in his bedchamber is secretly spied upon, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s narrative arguably doesn’t let up. This is true even when it follows young Leto Atreides’ romantic wanderings deep underground during his naïve endeavour to better understand the cave-dwelling existence of Ix’s supposedly sub-human labour force.
Leading this charge of sense-shattering storytelling is Rabban’s aforementioned unsuccessful pursuit of young Idaho and the fleeing youth’s remarkable ability to momentarily turn the table upon his hunters with something as simple as a forest clearing and a well-used hand-light. However, this furious dash across the third planet orbiting the star Ophiuchi B isn’t the only time this publication should have its audience gasping in anticipation. Indeed, the likes of Pardot Kynes partially forming an uneasy alliance with the Freman and an adolescent Atreides facing off against a rather sinister looking Ixian Training Mek provide plenty of dynamic entertainment too; “Aggressive, enthusiastic, but sloppy. Very little control.”
Somewhat less pulse-pounding, though equally as intriguing, is this periodical’s perusal of Crown Prince Shaddam and his ill-advised plot to overthrow the Emperor Elrood with the help of Count Hasimir Fenring. It seems pretty clear straight from the start that the self-righteous heir’s plan to somehow synthesise the spice Melange is not going to end well. Yet the princeling’s impatience to sit upon the Golden Lion throne and no longer have to accede to the Spacing Guild’s monopoly still makes this somewhat sedentary plot-thread incredibly enthralling, especially when it’s revealed Shaddam will have to deal with a mysterious Tleilaxu researcher in order to achieve his goal.
Perhaps therefore this comic’s sole disappointment lies in some of Dev Pramanik’s erratic pencilling, which seems particularly poor when depicting Fenring at the Imperial Observatory on Kaitan. Wide-eyed with a toothy grin, Shaddam’s maternal cousin and his curly hair debatably doesn’t withstand much scrutiny, appearing perturbingly rushed when compared to the Indian artist’s ability to imbue the likes of Duncan and Leto with substantial speed during their respective dashes for freedom.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]