Squire & Knight | Review
Squire & Knight
Writer/artist: Scott Chantler
The careful, bookish, observant Squire of cartoonist Scott Chantler’s new graphic novel Squire & Knight seems ill-suited to the service of his boisterous knight Sir Kelton, a confident man of action with little regard for the written world. When the unlikely pair arrive in Bridgetown, a village named after its bridge but whose namesake was recently sundered in half, they find themselves smack dab in the middle of the sort of quest Sir Kelton lives for.
Apparently a dragon has taken up residence in the abandoned wizard’s tower in the nearby forest, and ever since, the town has been afflicted by a variety of disasters, from the bridge’s destruction to mysterious fires. The townsfolk have begun offering sheep as tribute to keep the dragon’s depredations at bay, but it hasn’t stopped them from believing the town suffers from a curse.
While Sir Kelton rushes off to slay the dragon, Squire stays behind with the rest of the townsfolk, and, with relatively little to occupy his fertile mind, he begins to interrogate the stories being told back and forth. Did the dragon blast the bridge apart with his flame breath, or knock it down with a flick of his mighty tail? Wait, did anyone actually see the dragon destroy the bridge at all? And what’s all this about a curse? Is the dragon the cause of the curse, or a mere symptom of it? Could something else entirely be going on?
Squire takes to the local Hall of Records to research the town’s history and its late patron wizard, while his knight has failed to return, victorious or otherwise. It’s apparently going to be up to the young Squire to figure out what’s really going on, deal with the dragon, save Sir Kelton and the whole town himself.
Chantler, whose past work includes Two Generals, Northwest Passage and the Three Thieves series, brings this upended medieval quest narrative to life with his signature sharp artwork and a limited palette dominated by oranges, blacks and grays.
Little in the story is as it seems, and even less of it is as usual in such a story. The dragon, for example, is a smart, sharp-tongued negotiator with little interest in the townspeople one way or another—though he appreciates all the sheep. The knight is brave and strong, but more talk than deeds, and not the hero equal to the task at hand. And the Squire is, of course, the true brains of the operation, and the true hero of the story, a story that requires more puzzling out and relationship-building than it does sword-swinging.
Smart, fun and, of course, beautiful to look at, Squire & Knight is a great little adventure comic.
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About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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