Titan Comics: "Dragons: Riders of Berk Vol 4 - The Stowaway" Review

Gail Williams saddles up for the latest Dragons comic...

The Dragons: Riders of Berk comic features the continuing adventures of Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless, and the usual suspects that they had around - Astrid, Fishlegs, Snotlout and twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut, not to mention their various dragons.   

This edition, Vol 4 - The Stowaway, starts with Hiccup bemoaning the fact that Berk lies "well north of the middle of nowhere", it's the usual teenage wail of "nothing ever happens around here - it's so boring!" Hiccup longs for adventure, danger, new challenges and, of course, the unexpected. Then The Fraghen returns, full of holes after an attack at sea. It's captain, Jorgen, reports that Outcasts attacked them on their journey back from Knaff, and while they didn't lose much they did find a stowaway. 

Young stowaway, Hroar, is handsome, muscular, confident, the teenage dream boat. He's heard all about Berk and the wild stories about their dragons, so he stowed away and hid, cramped and confined, and enduring a vast deal to achieve his goal of seeing real life dragons.

And who can blame him, Dragons are cool right? Love dragons. Particularly loved Toothless from first sight.

Hroar charms his way into Hiccup's father's good books, into his home and into an introduction to the dragons. When Hroar asks to be taught how to ride, Hiccup doesn't really have much choice. The boy certainly seems to have a way with dragons, but Hiccup isn't sure it's a good way. Hiccup is suspicious and doubtful, and Astrid accuses him of just being jealous of Hroar because Hroar had actually done what Hiccup only fantasized about doing.

While Hiccup might privately acknowledge that there is some truth in that accusation, he's also sure that's not all there is to it. And in inimitable Hiccup style he sets out to prove it.

There are laughs and gasps along the way, which all lead to an interesting finale. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this instalment, and have to admit I could hear Jay Baruchel's voice in my head as I was reading. Clearly I have watched the movie so I do know what's going on and what the dynamic is, but that background simply adds colour (and a voice) to the story. There is no real reliance on that back story, so this comic adventure stands on its own two feet and enjoyment isn't reliant on knowing what has come before. So, could you give this to someone who has never read another Dragons comic or watched the movie(s) and reasonably expect them to enjoy it? Oh definitely. Would I give it to someone who has never read another Dragons comic or watched the movie(s)? Actually no. But that's not to say you couldn't, it’s just that it I was going to introduce someone to the world of Hiccup and Toothless I'd sit them down to watch the movie - if only for the excuse of watching it again myself!

My verdict - a great one for the younger reader that us big kids can enjoy too.

Dragons: Riders of Berk Vol 4 is out now. Sample artwork is featured below.

To find your local comic store visit: http://www.comicshoplocator.com/

Gail lives in her own private dungeon populated with all the weird and the wonderful she can imagine. Some of it’s very weird, and the odd bits and pieces are a bit wonderful. Well okay, she lives in Swansea with her husband and daughter. And the world’s most demanding cat. To find out more about Gail, check out www.gailbwilliams.co.uk - Dare you! 

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