Scales & Scoundrels Volume 2: Treasurehearts is the story of treasure hunting adventurer Luvander. Lu lives with a dark secret that she has trouble admitting to herself, much less to her new friends. Unfortunately for her, revealing it may not be her choice.
Treasurehearts collects issues # 6-10 of Scales & Scoundrels. The story begins right where the previous issues left off, and the art immediately catches the reader’s eye — Galaad’s art has a Sunday edition newspaper comic strip look to it. The characters have large eyes and the pages are filled with color. While the characters are not drawn with rich detail, they are very expressive. Galaad does a wonderful job of welcoming readers of all ages.
Throughout Treasurehearts there are pages that deviate from this approach, though. There are soul searching panels colored only in grey and white and multiple scenes where the entire panel is filled with an unblinking eye. There is also an early flashback scene with a beautiful night sky that’s the highlight of the book. Galaad’s willingness to change things adds to the comic.
Treasurehearts is well written, though inconsistent. Early in the book, there is a very touching scene with Lu’s friend, Dorma. There is also great character development involving Lu. As she learns more about herself, we see her interact with her world and struggle with many choices. She is firm in her decision making, but is also filled with childlike curiosity. Sebastian Girner does a wonderful job of exploring his characters.
This characterization is not limited to just the main characters, either. The supporting characters that Lu meets are also filled with motivations and personality traits that are able to be discerned quickly. These characters are so well written, that they immediately appeal to the reader. Girner is able to do in a few small conversations what some writers are unable to do in an entire book.
One of Treasurehearts‘ greatest strengths may be its humor. There are quips, one liners, dad jokes, and even some jokes that are a little dark, but nothing ever feels shoehorned in. The situations dictate the joke instead of the characters having to force them.
The inconsistency comes from Girner’s attempts to stay away from typical medieval vernacular. The book seems to want to speak with modern verbiage, and in most cases it does so very well. However, when the book does stray into the realm of “forsooth” and “doth,” it has trouble getting out. This makes it difficult for Treasurehearts to ever create any tone and constantly takes the reader out of the moment.
Howver, the biggest problem with Treasurehearts is not a result of writing or art, but one of timing: the first volume ends on a cliffhanger that is resolved fairly quickly, and the rest of the book follows Lu in what is essentially a series of one shots. While there is some insight given into her and how she is changing, it also causes the book to just come to an abrupt and unsatisfactory ending.
Scales & Scoundrels Vol. 2: Treasurehearts contains some good writing and eye catching art. It’s funny, filled with heart, and contains many compelling characters. The book is really good at times; it just lacks stability.
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