Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
Illustrations: Dev Pramanik
Colours: Alex Guimaraes
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Release Date: 30th June 2021
[NOTE: Review contains spoilers]
Capturing this comic book’s audience with its exhilarating coverage of the Old Duke Atreides’ commemorative ‘corrida de toros’ in the Plaza de Torres, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s narrative for this latest issue does a splendid job of illustrating just how dangerous a universe the distant future can be whilst Mankind is under the waning grip of the Padishah Emperor Elrood IX. For whilst the novel adaption provides a glimmer of hope in the shape of planetologist Pardot Kynes’ new-born Fremen child on Arrakis, the twenty-two page periodical’s plot predominantly dwells upon the somewhat sudden and certainly savage deaths of two central characters – Leto’s dangerously generous father, and the recently declared renegade, Lady Shando Vernius.
Foremost of these killings has to be the shocking demise of Minotauros at the cataclysmic conclusion to the last of his famous bullfights. The suggestion that something foul may well occur during the contest is hinted at by this publication’s creative team much earlier when a young “Duncan Idaho has a bad feeling about the upcoming celebration at Castle Atreides.” However, such doubts as whether or not to be worried about the planet’s charismatic leader don’t truly manifest themselves until the increasingly fatigued Duke himself starts to question just why his nerve toxin-tipped banderillas are having absolutely no effect upon the red-eyed, steaming beast who is angrily trying to gore him to death.
Slightly less impactive, though probably much more heart-breaking on account of the elderly noblewoman’s last thoughts dwelling upon her desire to once again be reunited with her much beloved husband, is the cold-blooded execution of the “former [favourite] concubine of the eightieth Padishah Emperor.” Much of this mini-series’ violence and political maneuvering can indirectly be laid at the feet of this woman, courtesy of Shando’s decision to marry Dominic Vernius after leaving the service of the Emperor, and Elrood’s resultant festering jealousy. However, artist Dev Pramanik pencils such a traumatic death scene for the lady, mercilessly gunned down midway through the act of romantically reminiscing, that only the most black-hearted bibliophile would feel she was in some way responsible for the total collapse of her family’s household.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]