Issue by Issue – Arak: Son of Thunder #20

Writer – Roy Thomas, Danette Thomas
Artist – Adrian Gonzales
Inker – Alfredo Alcala
Colours – Adrienne Roy
Letters – Alfredo Alcala

There are essentially two stories being told within the first tale in this book, the first dealing with Arak and his companions trying to get to White Cathay in order that they might rescue Malagigi and the second the history of that fabled city. Altogether, the two make for a very exciting and fascinating feature with Roy Thomas, Adrian Gonzales and Alfredo Alcala at the top of their game. It all begins with Arak and company trying to make their way across the Sea of Shifting Sand and doing so is going to be just as hard as it sounds like. Not only do they face certain death if they waver off of the path that Johannes sets, but storms and giant bugs threaten them as well. To that effect, Johannes raises a ship for them to ride upon and hopefully not only speed them along on their journey, but cut down on the threats they face. Despite that though, it does not stop Angelica from bringing forth an army of skeleton men from beneath the sands to do her bidding and they set upon Arak, Valda and Satyricus like a giant, lethal wave. While they do eventually succeed, they know it will not be the last threat they encounter on their journey. As for Angelica who is trying to convince Malagigi to aid her in protecting White Cathay from those that assault it, it is to no avail, even after she delves into its storied past for both prisoner and readers alike. Perhaps what is most intriguing about it all is that White Cathay had previously saved itself by not only removing itself and its citizens from its current location, but by moving through time. As Angelica explains it all, it comes to light that even though they might have escaped one enemy, they only reappeared having to deal with another which led to everything that has happened up until this point. It makes for a truly absorbing read with Thomas penning one of the best stories in this series, but it does not end there as he gives the audience another tale of Valda the Iron Maiden before leaving things off. The story continues straight from the last with Valda chasing after Pip, the king’s first son who had run off, upset not only with what happened at the Christ Mass celebration but with his lot in life. So it is that Valda must face down a pack of wolves before stumbling into a graveyard where thankfully, she finds that which she seeks. As the story closes though, it does so ominously with some robed figures plotting Valda’s death.

4.5 out of 5

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