DUNE HOUSE ATREIDES #1
It is a time before the coming of Paul Atreides and the momentous events of his life. A young Leto Atreides is about to learn about the universe beyond the shores of fair Caladan, while on Arrakis a young Vladimir Harkonnen seeks to wring as much spice as he can from the impossibly harsh and difficult world. Meanwhile, on the world of Kaitain, the seat of imperial rule, royal decrees, plots, and old rivalries circle each other in a deadly game of political intrigue.
The movie may have been delayed but that doesn’t mean that the new DUNE movie hype machine is chuffing along nicely. This series was no doubt meant to capitalize on that and It’ll be interesting to see how it’s received given that the film has been pushed back (rightly so IMO) to next year sometime.
I won’t lie, I had some trepidation about this adaption of the first novel in this series by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson. On one hand I am a HUGE Dune fan but on the other my memory of this novel and in fact, this series (having read the novel this is based on 20 years ago) is that it did not actually capture the grandeur of Frank Herbert’s original series in my opinion. That being said I did finish the series and I am of the opinion that it gets better as it goes along.
This issue establishes many of the main characters’ places in the universe, There are several narrative journeys involved and we are also given insight into the complex relationships between characters. The story moves to paint a backdrop history of the characters of this era including Vladimir Harkonnen, young Leto Atreides, Pardot Kynes, Shaddam IV, Hasimir Fenring, and Thufir Hawat all of whom anyone familiar with the original novels and the other media will know have a role to play in the future. we are also introduced to new characters that are only alluded to in the original series like the current emperor Elrood and Leto’s father and mother as well as Earl Dominic Vernius of IX.
The issue does not spend much time on the Harkonnens with the bulk of the story split between the political machinations of Kaitain and giving us a look at life for Leto on Caladan. The novel’s pacing was quite slow but it moves at a much better pace as a comic book and even though this is really very much an establishing shot it manages to hold one’s attention with a solid mix of drama and political intrigue. The action comes in the form of an explosive moment on Dune as well as the Duke showing off for his people and his son Leto for the young man’s birthday in the form of a bullfight.
The art is bold and detailed from Dev Pramanik and those strong lines combined with excellent coloring from Alex Guimaraes make for a comic that captures the eye’s attention on every page. I feel like Pramanik (who’s work I am not familiar with) definitely spent some time looking at both Jodorowsky’s Dune concept art as well as some of the original concept art used in Lynch’s extended cut of the film (which is very unlike what we actually see in the film itself) and then made it into his own original looking art. There’s also good dynamic paneling with the action moments that add to the atmosphere and overall I thought the entire art team did really well to produce something fresh but still recognizable with the art for this issue.
Jae Lee’s cover is its usual ethereal and striking self with the art against a light blank background and its symmetrical layout and I am looking forward to seeing his other covers for the series
Despite personal trepidation. DUNE: HOUSE ATRIEDES #1 is a solid and thoroughly engaging first issue exploring the history of the universe of DUNE with strong art and storytelling that feels more engaging than it did in novel format which bodes well for the rest of the series.
DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES #1 What Came Before
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 8/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 8.5/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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