DragonRage: A Cradle of Embers, the first issue of the series has eye-catching art that gets you interested. This was the second campaign I backed last year.
The crowdfunding campaign of “DragonRage: A Cradle of Embers”, same as with Shadowbinders, was a second-chance campaign. This meant that the first campaign was completed, and feedback from the backers of that campaign could be found online. Of course, you could also see what the book and the rewards look like. This was very helpful for me because I was interested in the project but didn’t know anything about the creators.
ABOUT THE CREATORS
The team of creators involved in the project includes Dave Philpott (writer main-story), Jimmy Reyes (pencil/inks), Jas Singh (pencils), Andrew Dalhouse (colors), Eric Weathers (lettering), Mark Goldfine & Sarah Perryman (back- story writers). The project also includes covert art created by Jas Singh, David Finch, and Jimmy Reyes.
Knowing very little about the technicalities of creating comics I learned here very quickly how many different jobs just one independent project can create. At this point in time, I was considering backing the project but was not completely sure. I look into their YouTube channel to get more details about the project. I liked it, and decided to back it choosing the cover done by Jas Singh.
ABOUT THE BOOK
DragonRage is a teen/young adult fantasy/action graphic novel. The book is in magazine format. I later learned that the proper term to use is “floppy”. In general, there are 3 main comic book formats, mainly hardcover, softcover, and floppy.
Hardcovers are durable and the most expensive. The softcover will give you everything that a hardcover book provides (mostly) at a more economical price and is more flexible to handle. Floppy is the traditional form of a comic book. For longevity, they should be stored in a storage bag.
The art of DragonRage looks even more striking on printed paper. It is precise and has a consistent tone of colors, and shapes. The paper and the ink used are of very good quality.
The main story is covered across 22 pages of interesting storytelling. There are also two pages with art from the next issue. The backstory about Jack is told on five pages, and there are five pages with the art of the winners of an art contest that apparently took place. Finally, there is also a one-page overview with all the covers.
The story introduces characters to the reader as an origin story would. The continuation of the story is planned and the concept art for issue #2 is included in this book.
So, I know it will continue but this first issue leaves you with many questions. I’m not sure if that was the intention but I was intently reading until the end. And then I’m asking myself “that was it?” Well, no there is an additional back story about Jack in the end.
Backstories are important but it’s not always necessary to have the complete backstory for all characters at the beginning. Hints here and there can be helpful to make you understand the behavior of a character. Look at Treago for example. From this one issue, you get why he is a complex character. He is of mixed species, has parental issues, and has lost his sister. He is also a mercenary with anti-hero characteristics.
ABOUT THE STORY
The story takes place during what appears to be medieval times wherein the legends of dragons are kept alive. The mere possibility of their existence ignites fear among men.
The Back Cliff Bay
Things are happening in Black Cliff Bay, marauders are attacking ships. A dragon is the first significant character we meet in the story. It ignites complete destruction in the bay area.
Up next, we meet a man with strange-looking green hands in what looks like a tavern where the main survivor of the incident in the bay area is telling his story. At this point, I can’t figure him out. He has a strong presence and appears to do things for the right reasons, however, his methods are very questionable. Even though in the end they are very effective.
The Kingdom of Black Cliff
Back in the Kingdom of Black Cliff, we meet Brannock and Nuri. Nuri is living in a barn under questionable conditions. We quickly learn that she has anger management issues and lives in the barn along with a little fox named Jack. She appears to have no family.
Brannock appears to be her handler that takes care of her needs. At this point, I don’t understand why he does all this? During their conversation, we learn that she was responsible for an incident in the bay area.
The Coast of Cragmoore
Somewhere on the Coast of Cragmoore. At this point, I’m asking myself What is this World? How far is Cragmoore this from the Kingdom of Back Cliff? How many Kingdoms are there? Does the story take place in one country or are there multiple countries? Maybe a map would be helpful for the next issues?
We learn that Treago is not completely human and is in some way related to Dragons which explains his looks. We also learn about his past during a conversation with a significant figure in his life that lives in that area. This gives you an understanding of his current behavior. They discussed the appearance of the dragon-like creature we met at the beginning of the story. We quickly learn that they are not happy with the existence of this creature. And so, the hunt begins…
At the End
At the end of the main story, we also get a short backstory about Jack that deals with themes such as PTSD, helplessness, and guilt. We learn about the day he met Nuri. The story is presented as a fairy tale that Nuri is telling Jack as a bedtime story. The little thing has trouble sleeping, and Nuri thinks these bedtime stories help him. Little did we know about Nuri’s connection to Jack and what really happened on the day they first met. I liked Jack’s story and hope it further develops in future issues.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING PROJECT
Luckily the process of receiving the goods went very smooth, even though there was no tracking number provided. Personally, I would prefer to receive the tracking numbers because of past experiences. Hopefully, this will be done for the next campaign.
Unlike with Shadowbinders where the package only consisted of 2 books, this campaign had additional rewards including a bookmark, a poster, a pin that came along with the book in an art-decorated plastic bag.
The book was packaged in a Gemini mailer and was in a plastic envelope. The poster was the only disappointment. It came rolled up in the bag, and because of the many hands that handle the package, well you can imagine. Let’s just say that I needed a few large books to help flatten the poster.
The quality of the printed book is very good. The story is engaging in this first issue. However, I think world-building and character development still needs more work.
At the beginning of the book, there is a brief intro to the story. It mentions that Nuri is a field servant for the Kingdom of Back Cliff. I did not fully understand why she is a servant. How did she get there? If she is powerful, why would she choose to live like that? It also mentions that she begins to learn the truth about her past. What truth? I didn’t get that from the story. There wasn’t a particular panel about this specifically. Or did I miss it?
I’m sure it will be more clear as the story progresses in more issues or maybe more information can be shared in a handbook or guidebook about the world of DragonRage. The art looks amazing, and the experience with shipping has been good. Overall, I’m very happy with the book produced by great talent.
Hoping to see Issue #2 published soon to learn more about the world of DragonRage and its characters.
Up next my eyes will be on “Through the Woods”
Check the first article from the series: EYES ON SHADOWBINDERS VOLUME 1 AND VOLUME 2