DARK SOULS: LEGEND OF THE FLAME
Tales of death and woe permeate this unsettling collection. Inspired by the THE FLAME LEGENDS OF gothic nihilism and minimalist LEG ND storytelling of From Software’ s seminal SO FT HE FL RPG series, each of the 13 short-form AM E episodes deal in deception, torment, and grim regret. Crossroads features a battle-weary warrior who, seeking respite from his hollowed form, encounters a tricksy criminal promising a cure. The Devoted recounts a champion’s battle with a hideous spider woman - not unlike Dark Souls’ Chaos Witch Quelaag – and the grim aftermath that follows. Often no more than a few pages long, they capture the series’ cyclical misery and unsaid rules – life in Lordran brutal as it is short. Action Replay is a perfect example of this. Here a gladiator is reborn after each gory arena death to face another in front of braying crowds, like a nightmarish new take on Groundhog Day. Like the games, Legends Of The Flame is unflinchingly hostile, constantly turning the tables on its cast of WRITTEN BY GEORGE MANN very disposable heroes. PENCILS/ INKS BY PIOTR KOWALSKI The real masterstroke is the shrine. Between yarns COLOURS anBY BRAD SIMPSON unnamed traveller, coaxed by a strange old lady and her even stranger cat, glares into a bonfire and sees the doomed fates of past wanders. As a framing device it’s perfect. With each tale showcasing distinct art vividly matching the grotesque splendour of the games, some bold and almost pop-art-esque, others going for muted and festering photorealism, it’s as if they’re murky attempts to retell some passed-down myth, WRITTEN BY aligning with the lonely beauty GEORGEand lost MANN history of Dark Souls’ fractal landscape. The shrine’s PENCILS/ narrativeINKS BY through-line is the one PIOTR KOWALSKI shining light in Legends Of The Flame’s unrelenting bleakness: the hope that our traveller heeds COLOURS the BY advice from these morbid BRAD SIMPSON lessons of what not to do.