Imprisoned though they may be, Arak is not going to simply sit and await his death. Such is where the companions find themselves at the moment thanks to Angelica, the Witch Queen of White Cathay, but thankfully, hope arrives in the form of the thief Brunello whom Valda had former dealings with in the past. Freedom it seems is not going to be as elusive as Arak might have thought but once let loose, they find themselves in pitched battle with the returning Haakon of Ultima Thule. At first, it is to try and rescue Kallinikos who carries with him the secret of Sea Fire, but soon Arak and his friends find that they battle with Haakon rather than against him as those they face far outnumber them. It ends with the timely arrival of Angelica who now pitches Haakon and Arak in a fight to the death and it is here that Adrian Gonzales and Alfredo Alcala really get to show off their fantastic artwork, the battle simply leaping off of the page. This battle too is interrupted as Roy Thomas finally makes it known just who Johannes is and why he insisted to come with the three companions. It is an intriguing bit of history as Johannes is revealed to be the former leader of White Cathay and not only do readers learn that his lifespan is somehow tied to the city, Thomas even works in a bit of Christian mythology into the mix as well to make it even more interesting. Suffice it to say, readers are treated to one more battle and this time it is one of sorcery between Angelica and Johannes, but just like it happened in the past, Johannes is no match for Angelica or the depths she will sink to in order to come out on top. The creative team produces one of the best issues in the series thus far with this book with an endless amount of action and excitement taking place, though it would have been nice to see Valda and Satyricus get a little more of the spotlight. As it is though, the book ends with a cliff-hanger that sees Johannes, Malagigi and Arak enter Baphomet’s realm in order to seek Angelica’s defeat, a story for the next issue that may just be even better than this one.
4 out of 5