The curious fantasy/science fiction graphic novel series The Autumnlands continues in volume two: Woodland Creatures.
In the last book, the chosen one, “Learoyd”, a violent and profanity-laden human from the future or, perhaps, the distant past, was summoned by a group of magic-wielding, sentient animals to save their world from the disappearance of magic.
But the effort of summoning Learoyd was so great, that it caused one of their sky-roving cities to crash to the earth. On the earth, there were tribes of violent and power-hungry creatures waiting for their chance to plunder the riches of the sky.
That entry ended with an epic explosion and fight with a bison tribe.
In this book, Learoyd and Dusty, a magic-wielding pit bull who recently lost his father, venture into the wilds of earth to discover who is poisoning the animals and continue searching for a way to bring back the magic that continues to disappear from the world.
Dusty, though young, is no dummy and Learoyd isn’t quite what the animals were hoping he would be.
The great champion of legend- the hero we’d thought him to be- would have sallied forth just because it was the right thing to do. But this champion… I was learning that legends were a poor guide. He had reasons for all he did. His own reasons. Whether I understood or not…”
This graphic novel is surprising in its treatment of the themes of power, magic and betrayal. I like how the animals tell the story about how everything that happens one way, but the reality of what happens seems to be something else.
It is an interesting examination of the power of storytelling and the construction of legends. What is truth? How much is magic simply technology that isn’t understood yet?
“This f-ing world. I thought it was a dream, at first. It comes off goofy, all badgers and warthogs in fancy robes and sh*t. Like a kids’ story. But there’s just as much sh*t here as there is anywhere, isn’t there?”
I didn’t particularly like how much Learoyd uses profanity, but it certainly gives him character.
This series is for adults. It contains adult themes, nudity, profanity and violence. And yet, I think it is worth the reading.
It asks big questions. It uses fantasy to explore strange worlds and the human condition. Recommended.
Thanks for reading!