Dungeon Twilight vol. 2: Armageddon – Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim

3 out of 5

The next two collected books of the Twilight entries offer some immediate improvements in tone, and art. As to the former, with The Dust King – aka Marvin the dragon – and, er, Marvin the rabbit now having had their relationship established, Sfar and Trondheim can revert to more of the casual buddy-buddy format of before, with Marvin (the rabbit) more fully becoming a silly dunderhead, a la Herbert, as opposed to his more flighty, brutal self (and thus less likeable) from before. Similarly, Dust King has rounded the corner to being a bit more optimistic, and so the whole spirit of the story – even as the world literally breaks apart – feels relatively upbeat.

Art-wise, while Sfar’s style was fine, it also felt limited in scope to a degree; Kerascoet has a really loose, comix-y style in the first half of the book that’s rather fitting for its chaos, and then cleans up to some really well delineated, comparatively clean cartooning for the sex romp comedy of the latter half.

As to the story, well, I just described part of it as a sex romp, and maybe that’s telling: Armageddon feels rather slight, despite the as-usual inventiveness of its setup. We open with a brief but weighty followup to Dust King’s / Herbert’s interactions – a final, page-summarized battle that results in the planet splintering into many floating islands. This zooming pacing and the calm acceptance of the gigantic status quo changes harken back to old school Dungeon, as does the escalating calamity of the duo taking on a whole bunch of Olfs. But the type of randomness employed here feels very of-the-moment instead of employed for world-building; a stray fart joke feels in line with this somewhat goofier approach. The fart joke is funny; I laughed – things just seem more simplistic, in general.

Moreso as we move onto Armageddon’s second half, in which Dust King seeks to reconnect with his family, but the focus is more on Marvin chatting up various chicks. This undercuts the emotional component of Dust King’s storyline to a degree – never Dungeon’s priority, exactly, but it’s sneaked some gut punches in there, and this doesn’t quite get to that level – and it’s hard to really care much about who Marvin gets to bang, beyond, again, the silly sex romp comedy vibe of it.

I enjoyed this much more than volume 1, and I’d be down for similar stuff in the future, but I do hold out hope that Twilight will very a balance between comedy and story in future volumes.