Sunday, April 03, 2005

Martin, George RR. The Hedge Knight. Devil's Due Publishing, 2003. n.p.

This graphic novel version of the story by Martin is adapted by Ben Avery with art by Mike S. Miller and Mike Crowell. The Hedge Knight takes place in the same universe as Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, but about 100 years before the action in those novels. In this world, hedge knights are the journeymen of the knight world, almost mercenaries, who pledge allegiance to various houses to make thier way through the world. The story begins with a squire, Dunk, burying his knight in the woods after he dies of an illness. Dunk, a nice guy but a bit dense, figures he can just become a knight now by taking over the dead guy's stuff. He decides to go to a jousting tournament nearby to make a name for himself and make some money to get properly outfitted. A rousing story ensues, as Dunk (now Ser Duncan the Tall, 'cause it sounds better) offends a deranged member of the royal family defending a woman's honour, has to assemble a team of knights to do battle with the prince and his party in a formal 7 man combat. There's certainly a lot of the darkness and brutality we've all come to expect from Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, with perhaps a bit of a lighter touch. The art is competant, but not spectacular. It's a bit too cartoonish and superhero-y for my taste. Miller and Crowell could have done well to study the Conan work of the late, great John Buscema a little more closely to see how heroic fantasy needs to be done. Hey, guys, by coincidence, Dark Horse is reprinting it all!


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