Item description for Artesia: Artesia Afield (Book of Doom) by Mark Smylie...
Artesia and her captains lead an army out of the Highlands to aid the Middle Kingdoms against the returning Thessids. The Empire's legions have swept across the land bringing death by sword and fire, and through it all, Artesia is plagued by dreams and haunted by ghosts as she ponders the choices she has made.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6.75" Height: 10.25" Weight: 1.75 lbs.
Release Date Jan 18, 2007
Publisher Archaia Studio Press
ISBN 1932386270 ISBN13 9781932386271
Reviews - What do customers think about Artesia: Artesia Afield (Book of Doom)?
The Heavens Begin to Shake May 16, 2008
Only She saw the threat that clearly; only She was willing to go. The Others sent tokens of support, and some of those plotted treachery against Her. In victory They would be first to claim credit; in defeat They would be first to cast blame. Her allies scorned Her capabilities, dismissed Her contributions, ignored Her counsel, and despised Her religion, but when the Crisis came, She would stand in the breach and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Why does this scenario seem to repeat so often both in fiction and in history?
Attracted by the artwork and having developed a soft spot for sword and sorcery, I decided to give Artesia a try and was amazed at what I found! This is no pale imitation of Howard or Tolkien; this is a fully developed world with fully developed histories and back stories, fully developed magical powers, fully developed religions, and fully developed powers and empires with which its characters must contend.
Having "resolved" her dispute with her lover and king, Artesia leads her expanded forces south to the aid of the hard pressed Middle Kingdoms. Desperation makes her welcome, though it is a poor welcome initially. However, her intelligence gathering exposes an impending disaster, and her courage and that of her soldiers stems the tide...
for a time.
Mark S. Smylie has given us quite a story here, or rather part of quite a story. Objections about unrealistically able female warriors are met first by magic and spiritual aid and second by good generalship. Few individual combats are shown; instead we see army against army, where better discipline, better training, and better leadership can rather easily defeat superior individual abilities.
Defects? Well, frankly I have my doubts about whether a story this complex set in a world this complex can be successfully told in graphic novel format. Multiple re-readings will be required to gain even a hazy idea of all that is going on, and recourse to Artesia online or even purchase of the Artesia: Adventures In The Known World RPG may be advisable, even for non-RPG players. Smylie unfortunately makes matters worse by drawing too many of his characters too much alike. Most of the female characters, including Artesia, can only be distinguished by costume or situation, and that with considerable difficulty. The male characters are a bit more diverse, but even there the proliferation of square-faced men is occasionally confusing.
In addition as the story becomes the story of a military campaign, the lack of good maps begins to tell. Oh, Smylie has drawn some very beautiful maps in here, but he fails to use them to show the progress of the war. What I wouldn't give for a map at the end showing just what is known of the movements of the combatants to date!
The saga begins in Artesia Volume 1 and continues in Artesia Afire.