The epic quest undertaken by Arak to rescue his friends from the realm of the dark and the dead continues in the forty-third issue of the series and it is just as good as the previous one as he travels where no living man aside from Gilgamesh has travelled before with the help of Utnapishtim. To say it is dark within the bowels of the Earth is one thing but dark or not, dead men or not, Arak means to press forward with his quest. Following the dead, he soon comes across Satyricus who is in danger of losing his soul should the satyr continue on as he does and it is just in time that Arak rescues him and manages to bring him back to his senses. As for Valda, she stands within the court of Queen Ereshkigal who rules the dead in this dark land and she means to keep Valda and all who pass through her gates though should the judges change their rule, she will let them leave. The judges are made of wood as Arak points out and unlikely to change any sort of vote put to them and so there is nothing left to do but fight their way out and as they do so, their battle somehow gets through to one of those wooden statues, making it cry out and transform back into the man it once was, back into Gilgamesh. With Arak, Valda, Satyricus and now Gilgamesh standing together, the denizens of Ereshkigal’s hell have no idea who they stand against and the fight that takes place is both exciting and a successful one as they are free to finally leave and make their way back to the land of the living. It is still a perilous journey as they make their way back and Gilgamesh even joins them, no longer wishing to remain where he was. Like all things upon the Earth though, they have their time and place and for Gilgamesh, that was long ago and so after everyone is safe, he lays down to never rise again leaving the companions in the ruins of what was once the city where Angelica rules. Roy and Dann Thomas create a bold and exciting story, one that continues off of the excellence that was the last issue and they make it as good as any that have appeared in the series, better than most even. With Tony DeZuniga doing some of the best artwork of his career in this book as well, it looks incredible, matching the epic tales as put down and it engages the reader from the first panel to the last. A masterpiece of craftsmanship if there ever were one.
5 out of 5