Guestwriter: Ernie Laurence
Writer – Crystal Frasier
Artist – Tom Garcia
Colorist – Morgan Hickman
Letterer – Thomas Napolitano
Editor – Joe Rybandt and Anthony Marques
This article made possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY and rolling natural 20s.
“You can’t try to turn our lives upside down every time you visit.”
I saw this opportunity to continue reviewing this series in the Pathfinder world and couldn’t resist. Spiral of Bones reminds me a lot of Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy with the seriousness of the context intermixed with the humor of the personalities. It’s a great mix, a formula that definitely works.
A huge portion of this issue takes place in the outer planes, or what many might refer to as “the afterlife”. As I said in my introduction, there is a mix of a serious topic, death and judgment, and all kinds of humor. I really like the take these writers have on the outer planes, the immortals there, and the conflict between ‘angels’ and ‘demons’. I really believe a lot of people will concur.
The art continues to be solid, imaginitive, descriptive, and well drawn without being cluttered. I especially like the vision they have for the Boneyard. Every aspect is considered, every object hints either subtly or strongly at being elsewhere.
Here is where Spiral of Bones really shines. We are introduced to a host of new characters, at least for this particular series, and for me who is new to the Pathfinder world a lot of new faces altogether. Wini the psychopomp is the first of the new characters, a spirit guide through the boneyard for Valeros – who isn’t exactly dead. She is understanding, sympathetic, and informative without being two dimensional. There is a subtle humor to her that endears the reader. Beyond her, we get to meet the two advocates, kind of like prosecutor and defense attorney. Deshact is a devil come to claim the soul bound to a contract that Valeros is mistaken for. Geosielle is an angel of Heaven come to plead leniency for all the good the soul did later in life. Less obvious characters are also introduced such as Kyron of Axis, Yindaal of the Boneyard, and many others.
As much as the new characters were entertaining, the twist this issue represents makes for a unique and interesting compliment to all the other excellence in the series.
Valeros has touched a gem that houses the soul of one Zeladar. Zeladar had sold his soul to Hell early in life and gained great power for it. He waged war and did many evil things in his younger life, but as he aged, he turned things around to use that power for good. It is Zeladar that Valeros is mistaken for as their souls have switched places – Zeladar in Valeros’s very much living body and Valeros’ soul in the Boneyard standing judgment in Zeladar’s place.
The humor of Valeros dealing with being not-dead in the boneyard is actually counterpointed quite nicedly with the seriousness of Zeladar back in the prime plane battling the monsters of the crypt with Valeros’ friends.
With all the talk of death and evil, this issue is tame enough that I’d consider it PG. There are only references to violence you might find in Star Wars or similar stories of equal rating.