Review by Frank Plowright
Before The Age of Fire Titan’s Dark Souls graphic novels tied in with later releases of the game, but this tracks back to the earliest days of the fearful world, ruled by fearsome all-powerful lords and with Everlasting Dragons flying the skies. It’s not a place to visit on holiday.
Ryan O’Sullivan packs his cast with characters from the game, and as in the first game he concentrates on Arkon, Dragonkiller and Silver Knight, beginning by showing us how the name was unearned, and continuing with Arkon as a human considering his place in a world of Gods. O’Sullivan’s portentous Olde English narrative captions will raise a groan of disbelief from anyone not captivated by such fakery, and when he progresses from them it’s into the pomposity of villainous monologuing. It generates the feeling that every line of dialogue should be accompanied by deep, echoing laughter.
Anton Kokarev’s artistic background is obviously illustration, and looking at his panels is like watching a rapidly moving Powerpoint presentation, with every panel a perfect video game box cover. Unfortunately, though, however impressive they may be as individual illustrations, they lack intuitive storytelling. The result is one posed pretty portrait after another, although to cut Kokarev some slack, it’s not as if O’Sullivan’s plot has much to it. He can’t contravene the game, so has to move the characters about the place without any fundamental alteration, and does so by means of prolonged and pointless battles or characters spending a page walking through a room in silence.
An element of justification for Arkon’s actions creeps into the fourth chapter, but even the most ardent Dark Souls fan may find the enjoyment rationed in The Age of Fire.