Guest Writer: Nick Monitto
Fred Van Lente- writer
Cary Nord -artist
This will sound strange, so please bear with me. My first thought as I finished “Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight” was… I think I’ve been through a bait and switch, and I loved it!
From the cover and summary, I expected a straightforward Arthurian tale. Right at the start, though, things went in a vastly different direction. The writer framed it like the fantasy film “The Princess Bride”, but instead of a grandfather reading to his sick grandson, we have the young man Obie reading to his girlfriend Faith, fallen ill with a case of ‘con crud’.
(Side note: is it coincidence that they have these names in a comic from the Valiant Company? Or could these two actually be Faith and Obadiah Archer?)
As a fan of “The Princess Bride”, I think the homage of style was nicely used. It hasn’t been overdone yet (at least not in what I’ve seen), so it isn’t a stale trope. Later in the story someone uses the “This word… I do not think it means…” joke, for a little reinforcement.
Without giving too much away, the setup is rather eerie, a cloud over the whole story. At Christmas, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are surprised when a mysterious Green Knight bursts in, making a bold challenge:
“Trade one blow with another, you against me, then me against you, and I will gift you this masterwork axe”
Sir Gawain, known also as Gilad, steps up, knowing that whatever he does, he must face in return, within a year’s time. Thinking he can bring it all to an easy end, he finds his guess to be quite wrong! As the year plays out in the story, we meet other characters including Gilad’s two brothers, an eager (but naïve to the world) young man, and the Lord and Lady of a mystery castle. The plot takes a few turns along the way, including a very odd background for the brothers.
This is a story that is partly traditional Arthurian, and partly something else quite odd. Staying flexible, I enjoyed it a great deal. There were some adult themes and moments, but nothing that offended me. Just perhaps not material for all ages.
Given how many comics I encounter with 4 or 5-part (or just ongoing) stories, it’s a nice change to finish something within a single issue. I enjoyed this one very much. And if the writer picks up more of the Arthurian story, I look forward to reading it.
Nick Monitto is a gaming geek who came of age on the classic games of the 1970’s and 80’s. He lives among the theme parks of Central Florida, and believes his younger self would be totally stoked that he is now writing for TSR!