The Song that Never Ends

An article by, Kelly Irelan
Read about Issue 1 here

We all have safe havens, and they hold different meanings for different people. They can be secluded spots in your own mind where you’re free to think and feel however you want. They can be places where you are literally protected from any harm that might come creeping to your doorstep in the dead of night. Though the idea of the safe haven seems to lend itself to the qualities of quiet and peace, such a place can also be found in the company of others. Sharing a common mentality of survival and strength in numbers can be absolutely essential to someone seeking sanctuary. It’s no wonder Bethany desires this for her own journey of harmony and acceptance, but the best laid plans very often go awry.

In the second issue of “Songs for the Dead,” the unlikely pair of Bethany and Elissar arrives in Accrington after some mild bouts of violence and bonding along the way. Bethany still desperately pursues any news of The Covenant. Greater numbers will be of immense help when it comes to convincing the public that necromancers are not to be feared. She hears tell of an elf named Govran who might be able to point her in the right direction, but finds little evidence to guide her down the correct path. The Will, an organization that actively hunts down necromancers, is using formerly deceased Emory as a spy to keep track of Bethany’s movements and progress. Govran leads Bethany away from the city mere moments before The Will descends upon Accrington. When she realizes the citizens and Elissar will most likely be killed because of her escape, our hero rushes back into the fray. There you have it, folks. She’s a Neutral Good necromancer. What a breath of fresh air!

Fort and Heron pull off another lovely installment of “Songs for the Dead.” I am actually living for the things that AREN’T said in this book. Subtext can be potent, and this writing duo carries it out very nicely. A friendship is forming between Bethany and Elissar, but it is most assuredly a slow burn and I’m glad for it. They don’t trust each other yet. Obviously, the two women are ready for the scrapes that inevitably occur during their travels. That’s only natural for an adventuring party. However, the quiet moments between our protagonists are telling. There’s a lot they haven’t shared, and I certainly appreciate the tension this creates. They’re not a dynamic duo yet and they don’t need to be. Rarely should that be the starting point if you’re looking to write a truly compelling story. Bethany and Elissar are INTERESTING, and we must always thank the writing gods (and the Fort/Heron team) for interesting characters. They have layers that will be peeled away with every issue to come.

Beck continues to make necromancy the most endearing branch of magic. The animals are by far my favorite detail and I’m sure you’ll agree. If we’re living in a world that houses mystical powers of any kind, I like to reminded of it often! Beck has actually turned Bethany into the Snow White of undead, forest critters. How can you say no to that? Also, I’m taking this opportunity to politely plead for scenes in the future where the animals Bethany feeds actually defend her from some kind of evil. I just need to see that. Snow White with an adorable legion of foxes out for blood. I would pay to see that movie. Take my money now.

I only wish the issue was longer. That cliffhanger is going to rattle around in my brain until the next installment. BETHANY, I’M WORRIED. CAN YOU BRING YOURSELF BACK FROM THE DEAD? I DON’T THINK SO, YOUNG LADY. (Though, that is an interesting thought.) In any case, tune in next time for exceedingly rad necromancy and possibly more tavern brawls. Also, WHO’S CORMAC? I know you’re all thinking about it! We have questions, Vault Comics! Exciting and abundant questions!