Dune: Blood of the Saradaukar #1 Delivers a Rich Story Filled With Intrigue
Sayantan Gayen
Frank Hubert's original Dune novel is one of the most acclaimed pieces of science fiction literature. Keeping in line with Hubert's legacy, his son Brian Hubert and author Kevin J. Anderson have produced several prequels and sequels that expand Dune mythology. Last year, Boom! Studios collaborated with Hubert and Anderson to adapt their prequel novel, the New York Times Bestseller Dune: House Atreides, and this time they are back with an original prequel comic book series centered around the Emperor's mighty Sardaukar forces. With Denis Villeneuve's Dune movie adaptation gathering storm and fan hype reaching critical mass, Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar #1 debuts at the perfect time to delight Dune fans.
Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar #1 begins with a pivotal moment from the books -- the attack on House Atreides on the planet Arrakis in the year 10191 AG. Colonel Bashar Jopati Kolona, leader of the Sardaukar troops has been ordered by the Emperor to launch a sneak attack on Leto Atreides, the head of House Atreides. As his army advances, Jopati's thoughts wander off to the days of his youth when he lived a peaceful life as the middle son of the nobles, Count and Countess Kolona on the planet Borhees. All that changed when Borhees was supposedly attacked by the Atreides and the massacre orphaned Jopati and his younger brothers. Ultimately, Jopati survived and was accepted into the Sardaukar ranks, but, at the cost of losing both of his younger brothers. After numerous assignments and exercises, Jopati gets stationed beside the young Emperor Shaddam IV when one day the door swings open and in comes Leto Atreides, and the urge for revenge grips Jopati's mind once more.
The issue continues the same sense of adventure and political intrigue as Hubert and Anderson's Dune: House Atreides. The story is narrated from the perspective of Jopati, giving us a clear picture of his backstory and motivations. Hubert and Anderson deftly hook in the reader with a gripping opening sequence that flows into a long plot of treachery, survival, and revenge. The non-linear storytelling places a unique perspective on the journey and rise of one of the greatest generals in Sardaukar history. The exhilarating pace of the story interjected between Jopati's inner monologues adds to the rich universe of Dune.
Adam Gorham's art captures the treacherous world of Dune exceptionally well. Known for gritty, expansive panels, he does well in capturing the pensive expressions of characters, especially of Jopati up close. Sometimes actions in comic books can be hard to follow, but Gorham's panel after panel depiction of close-quarter combat leaves no room for complaints. Equally impressive is the work of colorist Patricio Delpeche who gives life to Gorham's expressive art. Delpeche's choice of using contrasting colors as a play between light and shadow creates a brooding atmosphere. The dynamic layouts add another layer of pace to the already thrilling tempo of the issue.
Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar #1 does not let its foot off the pedal at any moment in the story. The book includes a minor detail in a crucial narrative point that for purists can alter the overall intricacy of the original novel. Using Jopati as the principal focus, Hubert and Anderson explores the themes of virtue and respect in the harsh realm of Dune.
Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar #1 may not be a good starting point for new readers but it offers plenty to longtime fans of the franchise.