EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: ‘Chasing the Dragon,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Chasing the Dragon #3 - But Why Tho?Chasing the Dragon #3 is a dark fantasy comic by Denton J. Tipton with art by menton3 and lettering and design by Gilberto Lazcano published by Heavy Metal imprint Magma ComixChasing the Dragon is about a dark and twisted world fueled by dragon’s blood, a powerful drug, the slaves who produce it, and a powerful secret that could change everything.

What is most gripping about Chasing the Dragon #3 is the world it takes place in. The reader doesn’t get too much detail about it via exposition but uncovers its vastness and depth as the main character, Andre, does. Andre has barely ever left the confines of the alchemy lab he is enslaved in until he and Jyn, a concubine, are forced to escape their mistress lest they be killed first for knowing too much about a new and cheaper way to make dragon’s blood, and second, for learning an unspeakable secret about the Dutchess.

In this issue, the word expands greatly as the two are chased across an acid lake by an elf who talks to his frog companion and into the realm of dwarves bent on taking Jyn for a bride whether she consents or not. The whole issue has me feeling similar to how it feels entering a new fantasy game for the first time, and you’re first starting to make your way to the landmarks outside of the starting village. There’s a fog preventing the reader from peering beyond what the artists want them to conceive in this world yet, and I appreciate that method.

The art itself lends tremendously to the world-building. It’s an utterly unique style that blurs much of the characters and settings with a painted approach that blends the colors and covers everything with a veneer of soot perfect for this ashen world. Occasionally, close-ups on faces help give more definition to the characters to help readers better identify with them. At first, this was jarring, but over time the style just all comes to feel like a cohesive artwork designed to be somewhat vague and uncomfortable, just like the world it is depicting.

The truest complaint I have to make is with the dialogue itself. It often feels awkwardly forced and unnatural. Lines are very corny at times and just don’t sound like either things actual people would say or the type of speech one would expect in a dark fantasy setting. It’s something that doesn’t get any less jarring with time, either. I’m not a lover of vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake, which comes up occasionally, but even still, when it does, it just feels stilted. Some of the lines from Nimloth, the elf with the frog companion, were hilarious. But some were a bit much. The design and lettering work well, though, with many of the pages taking non-traditional approaches to their panels and text placement.

Chasing the Dragon #3 is an intriguing story with a world and characters that have me captivated, albeit with a script that does not always do the story complete justice.

Chasing the Dragon #3 is available May 12th.

Chasing the Dragon #3
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TL;DR

Chasing the Dragon #3 is an intriguing story with a world and characters that have me captivated, albeit with a script that does not always do the story complete justice.