Thursday, June 9, 2016

Excuse me, Valiant Comics

After watching the TV series again, I also decided to reread the Valiant Comics, which are basically a follow-up of the show. You can find them on Zelda Legends, if you want to read them as well.

Overall the comics follow the concepts of the Animated Series, but it goes more into detail and tries to incorporate the source material of the Zelda NES games a lot more, which makes the whole thing feel a lot richer. While they still play Capture the Flag with the Triforces of Wisdom and Power, Link actually carries the Triforce of Courage in himself, following the events of Zelda II - The Adventure of Link. This is even true to how the Triforces rest inside their bearers in later games.

The castle from the the show here now is confirmed to be the Northern Palace and you get to see many other places from Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, like Saria, the "City of Tombs", Parapa Palace or the Ocean Palace. Even "Dark Link" and the Thunderbird get to be the villains in one of the chapters, though they are vastly different from the game. Dark Link is more like some imposter being, who can be the mirror image of anyone, while the Thunderbird is more like his small sidekick. And he gets defeated in a Game of Thrones style trial by combat.

Now, the overall tone of the comics is a lot more serious than the show, which isn't saying much. But while this is still the last part of my "Excuse me" blog series, only Zelda ever uses these words in the comics and Link's infamous "Excuse me, princess" catchphrase is completely gone. He still tries to steal a kiss from Zelda every now and then, but that feels very out of place here, because the two seem to genuinely love each other in the comics and treat each other with much more respect than in the TV series. The only real bickering happens in one of the extra pages, where they tried to went on a date.

For some reason they also decided to replace the fairy Spryte with "Miff", who isn't all Lana over Link or fond of Link at all. She just criticizes him for being a dumb brute. Spryte sadly only gets mentioned on one of the maps, where she has her own spring in the world of the first game (the one close to Level 1, while Miff has the spring next to Level 7).

Despite the changes in tone, you still can't take the characters seriously, because their faces look really weird in the comics and there are still some quirky moments, like Link pushing Zelda into a Wallmaster to get her to safety. And you also have stuff like this:

That's probably one of the weirdest things in the comics. Link actually comes from a kingdom named Calatia, which is where his parents live: Arn and Medilia. Other than one chapter taking place in this kingdom and them mistrusting Link, because his evil doppelgänger has taken control of the throne, they are not really important for the story, though.

There's a similar story idea, where the townsfolk of Saria gets tricked by Ganon into believing that he's actually the good guy, while Link and Zelda are the true evildoers, who try to harm the poor Ganon. They also tried to give some character to the overall generic characters from the Zelda II towns. There's one entire chapter devoted to Bagu, who's Link's best and quite strong friend and who lives together with two frogs. They also portray Saria's healer woman in another chapter, but sadly not in the Grand Theft Auto style of perverted minds. Instead she has a son with some older dude... In that chapter and in others Zelda is actually out questing on her own, where the Bow (combined with Silver Arrows) seems to be her weapon of choice, which only adds to the list of ideas that later would become a reality in the Zelda games.

One of my favorite chapters is probably the one, where Link acquires the Triforce of Power, but its power is corrupting him to a level, where he actually becomes the next Ganon. That was an interesting idea and they went all Anakin Skywalker with his role. One of his hands even got bit by Ganon and they kept drawing it in a red color...

In total there used to be 6 issues with two chapters each, so there are about as many chapters as there were episodes. Overall the story ideas feel richer and more serious, but the quirky drawing style and the leftovers from the TV show let this fall flat, where these comics are really forgettable. The included maps were really nice, though, and certainly worth a look.

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