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Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World #3

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Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World #3

Credits

  • Words: Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon
  • Art: Chase Conley
  • Colors: Nicolas Chapuis
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 16, 2010

One of my first reviews for Broken Frontier examined the first issue of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World. In it, I praised the creative team’s storytelling choices, arguing that their ability to refine their obvious passion for the source material with intelligent, respectful decisions was the main reason for the issue’s success.

In this third issue of the series, Chuck Dixon and Chase Conley continue to make strong storytelling decisions. Once again, they pay close attention to Jordan’s original novel, while adapting the pace and narration to the comic book’s unique level of audience participation and space constraints. Both gentlemen are operating at an extremely high level in this series, making superb storytelling choices not only within the confines of a single issue but when considering the series as a whole, as well.

After the excitement of the first two issues, this third chapter of The Eye of the World is relatively sedate. There are no sinister ambushes or desperate battles for survival within these pages, only a young man’s solitary struggle to save his father from a poisonous wound inflicted by the hideous monsters hunting them. Dixon makes an interesting decision by choosing to spend an entire issue on Rand al’Thor’s midnight flight through to Emond’s Field. As stated, the action is all but non-existent in this issue.

What is present in this installment is a pervading sense of urgency and tension, revealing character beats, and a richly textured atmosphere. It’s only when you’ve finished reading that you realize not one sword was drawn or arrow loosed throughout the entire issue. This is a remarkable feat in a visual storytelling medium, such as comics.

Dixon’s pacing is impeccable and his narration bang on. The obvious dangers in an issue focused more on character development than on huge action sequences are an over-reliance on exposition and a plodding pace. Dixon avoids both of these pitfalls adroitly with thoughtful scene selections, chosen for their ability to constantly drive the plot, and carefully selected narrative passages lifted directly from Jordan’s prose. The result is a finely balanced story with a crisp, deliberate pace, which successfully draws excitement from Rand’s emotional and physical conflicts.

Conley’s astounding, atmospheric artwork only reinforces Dixon’s narrative framework, the dense shadows of the West Wood amplifying the urgency and desperation of Rand’s flight through the forest. Rand and Tam are wonderfully rendered, their faces expressive and alive. Conley doesn’t just rely on pretty visuals, though. His storytelling is fluid and precise, featuring slick transitions and clear direction. Every panel is present for a reason and each scene pushes the plot towards its logical conclusion.

In many ways, this issue acts as an interlude of sorts – a break in the action allowing readers to catch their breaths. It’s also a pivotal chapter of the series, as the creators sow the first seeds of Rand’s legacy as the Dragon Reborn, through the feverish ramblings of his adoptive father.

Thanks to the consistently exceptional work of Dixon and Conley, this series continues to impress with its strong storytelling and respectful treatment of Jordan’s source material. Arguably one of the best comic book adaptations on the shelves today, The Eye of the World is quickly proving itself to be a series of craftsmanship and heart.

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