Issue by Issue – Arak: Son of Thunder Annual #1

Writer – Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas
Artist – Ron Randall, Rick Magyar, Adrian Gonzales, Rodin Rodriguez, Alfredo Alcala, Gerald Forton, Tony DeZuniga, Ernie Colón
Colours – Adrienne Roy
Letters – L. Lois Buhalis

Arak and Satyricus have been crossing a desert for some time, tired and thirsty and just a little hungry as their supplies run out while in search of the lair of the Serpent Lord. Being in the desert means of course that there will be desert raiders and so the pair find themselves under attack, but the great equalizer ends up being the sword of Gabriel and the bandits flee as if a fire were lit in their very souls. As they continue on, Roy Thomas sends a mysterious whirlwind to plague them, a sign that they must be getting close and it whisks the two away to places far removed from the desert. For Satyricus, it is Hades where he finds himself – the Land of the Dead with Charon standing before him in his boat upon the Styx. Satyricus cannot believe himself to be dead and yet here he is and so it is that he means to be free and once more in the land of the living and he does not mean to do so alone. As for Arak, he is once more in the land of the Quontaka, his home long years lost to him and supposedly destroyed along with his people. While there are serpent-men around him which he easily dispatches, so too are his people including his mother who is supposed to be dead as well as White-Snow Owl. Things are not as they seem though for either of the companions and it is Arak who breaks the illusion which finally takes them to that which they were seeking – the Serpent Lord himself. Thomas writes an exceptional tale with the aid of his wife Dann and a cadre of artists joining them to make it a reality upon the page. They make the book look exceptional, to say the least, their styles blending to look almost seamless from start to finish which is not, one would think, an easy thing to do. As it is, the final act of the book takes place in the Serpent Lord’s fortress with Arak surrendering the sword so that the hostages they were in search of might be freed. That all leads to one big battle of course between the Son of Thunder and his polar opposite, one for not only the sword of Gabriel but for the very lives of Arak and his companions. While Arak stands triumphant in the end as readers had to know he would, it is not an end to the threat that the Serpent Lord poses, for even though he was mortally wounded, gods do not tend to die all that easily. All in all, the first and only annual to be granted to this series was an unqualified success, continuing and building upon the issues previous to it and concluding everything in one grand finale.

4.5 out of 5

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