Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
Illustrations: Dev Pramanik, Mariano Taibo
Colours: Alex Guimaraes
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Release Date: 22nd September 2021
It is difficult not to recollect the Space Guild Navigator’s line from David Lynch’s 1984 science fiction film Dune that “I see plans within plans” whilst reading Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s narrative for issue ten of House Atreides. For whilst the twenty-two page periodical also includes a few scenes depicting the social niceties of life inside both Castle Caladan and the Imperial Palace on Katain, it predominantly focuses upon the Machiavellian machinations of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the soon-to-be crowned Padishah Emperor and the superbly sinister Bene Gesserit.
Indeed, coupled with the aspirations of young Duncan Idaho to suddenly rise from his position as stable boy to become a Swordmaster from the Weapon School of Ginaz, Duke Leto Atreides’ dangerous determination to see House Vernius restored back to its full glory at the Imperial Court, and Liet Kynes’ planet-wide plans for the future of life on Arrakis, some within this comic’s audience may well start to experience their head spinning as to just which character is trying to manipulate whom under what circumstances; “Therefore we must use all the tricks and influence of the Bene Gesserit to make sure that Duke Leto survives for our Kwisatz Haderach Breeding Program.”
Happily however, such a richly thick goulash of plots and sub-plots doesn’t stop this book from being a thoroughly enthralling experience, especially when the Harkonnens actually initiate their scheme to create a devastatingly destructive war between the treacherous Tleilaxu and honourable Atreides, only to find the newly ensconced “Red Duke” is already willing to disobey Guild laws and regulations in order to save his people. This shockingly serious breach of galactic etiquette takes the Baron by complete surprise, and bodes intriguingly well for the reader in the future, as it becomes abundantly clear that no matter how well laid out a conspiracy’s preparations may be, the end result may not be as ‘written in stone’ as the plotters might hope.
Also adding plenty of foreboding, atmospheric tension to this tale with his pencilling and occasional eye-wincing depiction of death, is Dev Pramanik (with Mariano Taibo). The Indian illustrator is arguably at his best when sketching the skulking Harkonnens prematurely patting themselves on the back in the dingy blackness of Giedi Prime at the cleverness of their undetectable space-fighter. But the artist additionally does a great job in suggesting the sheer scale of a heighliner’s horrendously large hold, packed full of “frigates, cargo shuttles, and passenger craft.”
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]