cover image THE HEDGE KNIGHT


George R. R. Martin, Ben Avery, . . Devil's Due, $14.95 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-932796-06-3

This heroic fantasy tale reinvigorates the tired category of sword and sorcery fiction by emphasizing the human angle. Though it's adapted from a story set in the magical world of Martin's popular Song of Ice and Fire novels, it contains very little sorcery, and the swords are less important than the people who wield them. Hulking young Dunk is the squire of an elderly warrior. When Dunk's master dies, he rides on to the next tournament in hopes of winning recognition for his knightly prowess. He acquires a squire of his own, a bald little boy who calls himself Egg, and gives himself the more elegant title of Duncan the Tall. Miller and Crowell are obvious fans of medieval pageantry and delight in details of armor, weapons and other such trappings, but readers are apt to become more involved in Dunk's efforts to be noticed and, in turn, respected, by those around him. He emerges battered but wiser, as his heroes turn out to be simultaneously smaller and larger than he imagined. Everyone, even Egg, is more complicated than they seem, and Martin recognizes that honor is more than ceremony and that heroism comes at a price. The story is chattier than usual for comics, but that's necessary for characters to reflect on what they've done and learned. (June)