Issue by Issue – Arak: Son of Thunder #1

Writer – Roy Thomas
Artist – Ernie Colon
Inker – Tony DeZuniga
Colours – Carl Gafford
Letters – Ben Oda

1981 would see the birth of a new sword and sorcery title, one taking place in the real world of the eighth century, but one still featuring magic and dragons and so forth. The hero of the story, one Arak, born a son of thunder and here a teen, is rescued from the ocean by a passing band of Vikings who decide to let him live where he is raised in their ways. Arak gains his name from the man called Hermold, a man whom he looks upon as both comrade and father. The leader of their company, one Sigvald has no love for Arak and while the reader waits for treachery on his part, it is held in check and Arak reaches manhood unmolested. Roy Thomas and Ernie Colon who craft this tale, do so expertly and readers will find themselves drawn in from the first and it continues through one raid and onto the next during which Arak has grown somewhat tired of the needless killing. It is on this second raid though when things go wrong before they even hit land and a giant sea dragon rears its head and destroys their ship as if it were made of twigs. Over the course of the issue, readers have seen Arak grow from boy to man and learn the ways of such, or at the very least, that of the Vikings. As he has come into contact with others, he has started to take an interest in them as well and is open to learning more, much to the consternation of his brethren. When all but he and Sigvald are killed, he learns to simply go along with whatever is currently happening and if that is to be the slave to a sorceress, then that is exactly what he is going to do, swearing an oath on top of it. All of this comes to a head though when the sorceress, one Angelica, Princess of White Cathay, is going to kill the remainder of the priests on the island to which Arak objects as one of the men was at least kind to him. The Princess reminds him of his oath and as Arak is a man of his word, he does not attack the sorceress or her brother, but the sea dragon who looks to make a meal of everyone and the book bears out some very exciting action courtesy of Colon and Tony DeZuniga’s incredible talents. In the end, the hero wins out and Thomas leaves it open at this point, the beginning of a journey for both Arak and the reader.

4 out of 5

3 replies »

  1. Good stuff! I’ve been enjoying Aark since I started to try and put together a run last year. I thought the idea of a Sword and Sorcery story grounded in the “real” world was an interesting idea.

    I also think that the story was a nice change from of Roy’s JSA / All-Star Squadron (which I love) because it is not as dense. I’m looking forward to more of your reviews of this series.

    Liked by 1 person

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