Writer, Illustrator, Letter: Liam Sharp
Font: Dave Gibbons
Design: Liam Sharp
Logo: Liam Sharp and Christina McCormack
Additional Illustration: Matylda McCormack-Sharp
Covers: Liam Sharp
Additional Covers: Dave Kendall; Sam Shearon; Ben Wolstenholme
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: December 14th, 2022
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Starhenge Book One: The Dragon and the Boar #6 Review.
This week sees the end of the first chapter of Liam Sharp’s sci-fi/fantasy epic STARHENGE BOOK ONE: THE DRAGON AND THE BOAR. STARHENGE BOOK ONE #6 is more ambitious than all previous entries. It’s not just about resolutions but of revelations. It sets the stage for the story to expand well beyond the established trappings of Arthurian lore.
STARHENGE BOOK ONE #6 resolves Arthur’s story which proves to be a necessary building block for the series’ larger plot to continue. Sharp achieves this via Amber including some of the Lost Book of Taliesin–the history of Arthur’s fall. The telling is different from most depictions of Arthur’s death. Ultimately, though, the story ends the same: Arthur and Modred (Mordred) kill each other in combat. But it turns out that, according to Amber, Arthur’s death is what eliminated the Knights of Veldt in the future (the magical warriors who were keeping the Cast at bay). Arthur’s death relieves Merlin of that relationship and responsibility, putting him in the position to encounter Amber and reunite (yes, reunite) with Daryl.
It would be a mistake to go into STARHENGE BOOK ONE #6 expecting an end. The issue isn’t so much ending the first story in a collection of stories but transitioning from one act in a story to another. As such, while the story of Arthur’s life comes to an end it really only does so as a stepping stone to the continuing story.
STARHENGE BOOK ONE #6 is easily the series’ densest issue. Arthur’s final fate is related in prose sections that accompany only a few sequential panels showing the fight. Having such a pivotal event happen in such a condensed fashion is somewhat of a surprise at first. But as the issue goes on, it’s clear that Sharp has a great deal he’s trying to communicate before finishing out STARHENGE’s first book. He packs in a lot of character revelations for Daryl and Amber in this issue–more than any prior issue.
The extent of those character revelations in effectively the final issue of a mini series is surprising. There’s nothing here that undermines what we’ve seen of Amber and Daryl to this point, but there are a few big surprises about them that tie the pair directly into the story far more than seemed to be the case before. It’s certainly an effective choice in terms of making the issue end on as big a shock as possible, but I do feel less connected to Amber and Daryl at the end of the series than at the beginning. This isn’t to say that I’m not still invested in them and the story they’re a part of. But I think I need to get to know them again.
STARHENGE BOOK ONE #6 brings together almost all the different coloring styles together in one issue. This issue runs the gamut of styles we’ve seen such as the cold blues of the future, the beige note pages of Amber’s past, and the warm blues and nature-tones of Arthur’s time. There are new styles as well: the Arthur/Modred fight is bright and lively in a way nothing has been to this point and pages describing Modred’s queen utilize heavier greens. Visually, it feels like Sharp is tying everything together which makes sense in the context of the story.
I’m not sure that I know what I expected from STARHENGE BOOK ONE #6. I wasn’t expecting something that would serve as an end. But I’m also not sure I was expecting such major character revelations. The idea that Arthur’s death destroyed future magic intrigues me since in our own history and lore, Arthur did die. It provokes many questions about where the story might go. But while I do find this issue to be somewhat less effective narratively, the art is more impressive than any issue to this point. In short–another winner. And I eagerly await the next issue.