Dragons: Riders of Berk is a new comic book continuation of How to Train Your Dragon and a tie-in to its TV show, which are both great by the way so you should totally check those out if you haven’t seen them. Released by Titan Comics, written by Simon Furman and drawn by Iwan Nazit, the comic is a mix of funny characters, funky creatures and a lot of childlike fun.
The comic opens with pictures of the dragons and their riders complete with their names beside them; it’s great for a re-introduction and serves as a nice reference if you just need a quick refresh or if you’re coming to this with fresh eyes. The first thing that I want to mention is the fact that it feels like a seamless transition from the original to this, it’s got the same characters and even that same sense of humour. Although it’s billed as a tie-in to the TV show, you could absolutely pick this up if you’d only seen the movie. The same goofy phrases are used by the cast too, for example an insult which I love and that I will definitely find a use for in my everyday life is ‘worthless son of a milkmaid’. Everyone sounds exactly as you remembered them. The comic is full of plenty of familiar faces and locations which really makes you feel right at home, it’s like meeting up with old friends. The comic captures the atmosphere so fantastically that it was like watching a new movie play out in front of me.
The comic makes all the dragons feel a lot more like loveable pets as opposed to how the original movie portrayed them. For instance although the movie has Toothless display the characteristics and quirks of a dog, the others seem to be more like horses and be used for travel and visual ‘coolness’ rather than companionship. This change means it helps to show how close the cast have all grown to their dragons over time and makes them all a lot more likeable.
The art style really grabbed my attention from page one, it’s a realistically proportioned but in a very cartoon style reminiscent of the stylised look of the original 3D animation. It really feels like looking at a kid’s movie but it simultaneously has very detailed and accurate drawings, from the anatomy of the characters to the style of the houses and detailed backgrounds. The fun art mixed with the vibrant colours, provided by Nestor Pereyra and Digikore, make the world feel active and alive. As a bonus there are some CG renders at the start and end of the volume too which are amazingly detailed, honestly I’d love to have them as posters.
As for the actual plot, I don’t want to spoil it but it’s essentially the type of good stuff you’d expect. It’s got plenty of action but it remains funny the whole way through. It’s just a joy to read and it’s very easy to sit down and really get sucked in.
In conclusion, this comic is great. I’m admittedly quite the animated movie buff myself but being in my early twenties I’m not quite the target audience, yet I absolutely adored this volume. It’s child friendly and clearly aimed at kids first but I would actually recommend it to anyone interested. It manages to show off swooping epic battles without a single drop of blood being spilled, while making you laugh along the way. If you have any interest in the original How To Train Your Dragon or the TV series then you should absolutely pick this up.