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
Arguably feeling more like a modern day courtroom drama rather than a futuristic space romp, issue eleven of Dune: House Atreides certainly should still delight fans of “the world’s best-selling science fiction novel” with its superbly-penned mixture of political intrigue, double-crossing dealings and high-stake games of bold-faced bluff. Indeed, despite this comic’s lack of action-packed adventures, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s storytelling still provides an incredibly enthralling experience of life in the far distant future where Vladimir Harkonnen is absolutely desperate to see Leto Atreides be tortured following the young Duke’s imminent trial by forfeiture.
Foremost of these tantalising hooks is the incredible lengths Crown Prince Shaddam undertakes when faced with the possibility that his support for Project Amal will be revealed to the entire Landsraad during Leto’s tribunal. The soon-to-be Emperor’s evident fear at such a revelation is fascinating to watch, especially when he savagely turns upon his most trusted Mentat political tactician, Hasimir Fenring, for daring to suggest the Imperium blackmails the Great Houses into simply acquitting Duke Atreides; “I have not even been crowned, and this could threaten my rule. How ham-handed! And you did this without consulting me?”
Similarly well-delivered is the duplicity of the Tleilaxu, who for once are seemingly unaware that it is they who are actually being ‘played’ in a much larger game. Determined to seek justice for the apparent unprovoked attack upon their delegation by House Atreides, the treacherous Hidar Fen Ajidica not only somewhat patronisingly manages to defy Shaddam’s order to drop his allegation against Leto with some mere well-placed words. But subsequently arranges for a pair of shape-changing assassins to unsuccessfully attack the defenceless prisoner in his cell, and resultantly causes even more chaos for “the youngest son of the 80th Padishah Emperor Elrood Corrino IX” to somehow quietly contain.
Fortunately, all of these ‘behind closed doors’ dealings are well-illustrated by Dev Pramanik (with Mariano Taibo). The Indian artist does a particularly good job in penciling the facial expressions of “the newly crowned” Atreides during his incarceration on Kaitain, as both the evidence seems to slowly stack up against his claim of complete innocence, and his shrewd intuition helps him make full use of some surprising support from the Bene Gesserit.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]