In typical epic Dune fashion, this issue covers a variety of subplots and characters. Planetologist Pardot Kynes assists Rabban Harkonen in going after a sandworm, Mother Superior Harishka plots bloodlines with her Bene Gesserit coven, we see Duncan Idaho’s young origins at the hands of Harkonnen warlords, and Leto Atreides is dropped in the middle of nowhere.
For all these threads crossing each other, it’s hard to get invested in any of them. This comic continues to feel merely like snapshots instead of a unified plotted-out whole. Instead, it has Better Call Saul syndrome: urging you to care about younger versions of characters despite their actions being fairly mundane. Issue #1 had plenty of characters to deal with, but in #2, we’re saddled with even more.
As for specific problems, the dialogue continues to be clunky and expositional. And an inherent problem still remains: Dune as a book is all about subtlety and minute political calculations that have massive ramifications all wrapped up in a cloak of mysticism and philosophy. Brian Herbert sidesteps much of that in favor of a stale series of blunt conversations about plot that may or may not happen in the future.
Luckily, the art has stepped up despite the same artist being on board. While I found Dev Pramanik’s art not up to par for such a large project last issue, he’s changed up his approach to far better results. The work here is far more textured and softer. The lines appear to be made almost with pencils, and with appropriately smudgy colors from Alex Guimaraes, the art here is fittingly dusty and gritty with just the right amount of sweeping scale. Even the issue of panel sizes and pacing from #1 is fixed here; especially now that epic moments are given room to breathe.
Overall, this series has yet to fix fundamental issues (namely: its purpose). And the glut of characters yet barren plot is frustrating. However, the art has improved and represents the visual splendor of the property in far better light.
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