REVIEW: ‘A Clash of Kings Vol. 2,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jon Snow, Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings Vol 2 #1 is based on the novel by George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones). Published by Dynamite Comics, it is adapted by Landry Q. Walker, drawn by Mel Rubi, colored by Ivan Nunes, and lettered by Tom Napolitano. Anne Groell and Joseph Rybandt edited it. This first issue of the second volume picks up after Robb Stark won a battle against Lannister ally, Stafford. The script decides to limit this issue to three character points of view, retaining a 23-page length. We follow Sansa Stark, Bran Stark, and Jon Snow on their respective journeys.

Sansa is being physically tormented by Joffrey Baratheon who she is betrothed to. Joffrey has his men beat Sansa due to his anger over Robb Starks’ actions against the Lannisters. Tyrian Lannister, Joffrey’s uncle, eventually puts an end to the brutality. With her part of the story only being seven pages long, not much occurs other than her interaction with Joffrey. The script adapted by Walker gives Sansa’s narration enough of a voice to have readers empathize with her pain. However, it also includes a lot of unnecessary dialogue from Joffrey. The script isn’t as sharply condensed as it could be, evidenced by the swamp of text bubbles present in not only Sansa’s chapter but also Bran and Jon’s chapters.

Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, Sansa Stark, Bran Stark

Napolitano’s lettering of this book is its biggest weakness. Seeing as Martin’s novels are heavily descriptive and exposition-heavy, the art should take the place of that and the dialogue between characters should be the focus. However, Napolitano’s speech balloons are excessive and bombard the pages because of Walker’s wordy script. The art is simple enough to break up the ballons to allow for easier reading. For example, the last page of Sansa’s “chapter” features 21 different text bubbles for a dialogue exchange between Sansa and Tyrion. It, also, has two narration boxes. It chokes up the page. My eyes feel overwhelmed over the fact that the speech bubbles take up more space than the actual art. Along the same lines, I noticed throughout this issue that there were text balloons that seeped outside of a panel and into the gutter. This is usually not an issue and isn’t distracting when the gutters between panels have a lot of space and/or are a solid color. However, these bubbles bleed from panel to panel making the natural flow of reading feel confusing.

When the art does get to shine through, it is expressive. Every character reacts to information as they receive it visually. That is the biggest asset to Rubi’s art. Its simplicity accurately captures the setting and period for A Clash of Kings Vol 2 #1. However, there are times when the art does not look consistent. When Sansa is being beaten, her body is shown receiving hits. However, her shape doesn’t look the same between panels.  Her facial structure also lacks uniformity. It is most visible when Sansa contorts her face when in pain. The consistency was lowered during most action scenes throughout the rest of the book in an attempt to create dynamic panels. Although, it just rendered each scene stiffy and static.

Bran Stark, The Warg, Sansa Stark, Jon Snow, Game of Thrones

The coloring done by Nunes is a treat through the issue. The dreamy and soft color palette for Sansa embodies the passiveness of her character. Bran’s color scheme is a lot darker, filled with blues, browns, and greens as he struggles to understand the dreams he’s been having. Jon’s chapter is filled with blues and oranges as he is outside. Nunes brought the colors of this fantasy book to life.

Overall, I feel disappointed with A Clash of Kings Vol 2 #1. This book failed to invoke the world of George R. R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings, separate from the coloring done by Nunes. As a huge Game of Thrones fan, this comic adaptation doesn’t suck me back into a property I already love. It should have done this easily.

A Clash of Kings Vol 2 #1 is anywhere now wherever comics are sold.

A Clash of Kings Vol 2 #1
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TL;DR

Overall, I feel disappointed with A Clash of Kings Vol 2 #1. This book failed to invoke the world of George R. R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings, separate from the coloring done by Nunes. As a huge Game of Thrones fan, this comic adaptation doesn’t suck me back into a property I already love. It should have done this easily.