cover image Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’dib

Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’dib

Frank Herbert et al. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4946-9

The aftermath of the fall of House Atreides plays out with high melodrama and mystical fervor in the second volume of the graphic adaptation of Herbert’s science fiction classic led by his son Brian Herbert, with art by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martin (the Harbinger Wars series). Following the treacherous attack by rival House Harkonnen, secretly aided by the galactic Emperor, the few living Atreides, including the dead Duke’s son Paul and his mother Jessica, are scrabbling for survival on the harsh desert planet Arrakis. Paul toggles between learning the ways of the Fremen, warrior nomads and erstwhile allies, and coming to terms with his prophetic dreams of becoming a galaxy-conquering warlord. Meanwhile, the decadent and brutal Baron Harkonnen schemes to both annihilate all living Atreides and seize Arrakis’s lodes of the invaluable mineral spice. As in Herbert’s original, lengthy dialogue scenes covering arcane matters of water ritual (crucial on a desert planet), honor, or baroque royal intrigues are regularly punctuated by bloody duels and larger set pieces—particularly explosive ones involving near-escapes from Arrakis’s mammoth sandworms—that thrill but rarely move the plot forward noticeably. The creative team seems to have warmed up to their task with this volume; while much of the script is spent waiting for Paul to realize what his prophecy entails, the pacing as well as the art is more dynamic, improving on the stiff first venture. It’s a solid comic adaptation to keep fans of the space opera mostly mollified until the next installment of film series arrives. (Aug.)