So it is with this issue that Arak and Valda finally come back together after having been separated for quite some time and it finds their love undiminished. At the moment, Arak needs to enter a healing trance, explaining to Valda how he is now a shaman while at the same time, Malagigi is confronting Barmak over his missing friends. Barmak of course denies it all, knowing nothing and admitting nothing and Malagigi knows deception when he sees it. When every opportunity at a peaceful resolution ends, the old wizard takes matters into his own hands and decides to seek out the Caliph in order to force Barmak’s hand. Elsewhere, Alsind has escaped his bonds and has found Satyricus behind bars with many other mythological creatures including a griffin and a basilisk among them. Not only does Satyricus want his freedom, but so too do the other monsters and they swear not to harm Alsind, only Barmak for what he has done. All of this finally leads to a confrontation in the harem chamber of the Caliph whom Malagigi has found and to whom he whispers words filled with only a little deceit in order to accomplish what he needs to be done. Not only do Barmak’s men find their way there, but so too do the creatures who were imprisoned along with Arak who arrives separately with Valda at his side. Tony DeZuniga brings his artistic genius to the book and illustrates the big battle that takes place with some incredible action sequences that captivate readers from panel to panel. While it all looks great, it is also quite tragic and sad for those creatures of myth, for after having been imprisoned for years against their will, most of them perish by Arak’s hand, the man supposedly protecting Alsind by doing so in some backwards way. It makes little sense, though in a way it does, yet one by one they all fall except for the basilisk who remains out of the fray until the last where it, the last beast of myth aside from Satyricus, takes its revenge. Roy and Dann Thomas also perpetuate that tragedy in one last act when one of the companions falls making it all seem like a futile effort. From start to finish the thirty-ninth issue of Arak made for great reading, even if it ended upon a very sad note.
4 out of 5