REVIEW: ‘Dune: House Atreides,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dune: House Atreides #2

Dune: House Atreides #2 is published by BOOM! Studios, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, art by Dev Pramanik, colors by Alex Guimarães, and letters by Ed Dukeshire. Continuing its tale from the last issue, we find the Imperial Planetologist having arrived at Arrakis, and the young Atreides having set out for Planet IX. But it is a big galaxy, and there are a great many wheels turning within it.

As I approached this book, I was looking forward to seeing the varied plot threads introduced in the first issue begin to form and come together. While that does happen some, the book spends much more time opening new plot threads, stuffing even more into an already bloated story.

Dune: House Atreides #2 opens with the Imperial Planetologist setting out to study the world of Arrakis. He heads out with the Duke Harkonnen’s nephew Rabban. It seems the young Harkonnen looks to bag himself a prize, a sandworm in fact. And so, the two and their varied companions set out.

This sequence provides some insight into our Planetologist’s personality while also driving home the cruelty inherent in much of the nobility in this universe. Given the disdain that Rabban treats his subordinates with and the fact that no one bats an eye at it gives the distinct impression this is par for the course where such things are concerned. Life it seems is cheap indeed.

From here, the books jump to Wallach IX and the heart of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood. And if you don’t know who they are, well, that’s a problem. While I mentioned that the last issue did a solid job of filling in background on concepts and groups, Dune: House Atreides #2 doesn’t keep that up quite as well. Despite the fact that the whole purpose of this sequence is to outline their grand plans of genetic manipulation across the empire, there is no indication of who these people are or how they can accomplish this feat. Apparently, this book is intended purely for those already initiated in the lore of Dune.

From here, there is a sequence whose sole purpose, aside from introducing another new plot thread, further displays the cruelty of House Harkonnen as we see a young man by the name of Duncan Idaho being hunted for sport by some guards on the house’s homeworld.

After this brief detour, the book ends with the young Atreides arriving at Planet IX, though it doesn’t seem to be quite what he was expecting. I couldn’t be sure if there was a problem in store for the young man or not. The final panels of the book, however, show the character looking as confused as I felt.

While the story in Dune: House Atreides #2 has little time to breathe or develop, I continue to enjoy the book’s art. Artist Pramanik delivers each locale and character with clarity and skill. Each sequence feels wholly unique, which helps discern each portion of the story even if it adds to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the narrative piled upon me.

The colorwork present here furthers the enjoyment one can find within the visual presentation of the book. All the various locales feel appropriately colored, and I especially loved the look of Arrakis. The striking oranges and browns give the desert planet a truly barren and harsh feeling.

Lastly, we have the lettering. While the story that makes up this book sometimes struggles with a lack of clarity, that is in no way the fault of the letters themselves. Brosseau does a great job keeping the story’s presentation easy to follow from panel to panel.

When all is said and done, Dune: House Atreides #2 falls fairly flat for me. The introduction of so many plot threads does nothing but slow down and muddle an already busy story. It feels like this book is concerned less with telling a cohesive narrative than managing to introduce every element from the universe that the original materials dealt with.

Dune: House Atreides #2 Is available on November 25th wherever comics are sold.

Dune: House Atreides #2
3

TL;DR

Dune: House Atreides #2 falls fairly flat for me. The introduction of so many plot threads does nothing but slow down and muddle an already busy story. It feels like this book is concerned less with telling a cohesive narrative than managing to introduce every element from the universe that the original materials dealt with.