In the second graphic novel (of three) in the first Ralph Azham epic fantasy series, anthropomorphic duck people with magic powers undertake a dangerous journey; the story ends on a cliffhanger (resolved in book three) when Ralph is confronted with his mother’s killer and discovers his long-lost sister is alive.In the first installment of his new epic fantasy series, “Why Would You Lie to Someone You Love?,” Lewis Trondheim introduced us to the reluctant duck hero Ralph, the mutant-powered orphan Raoul he has taken under his (literal) wing, and his stalkerish girlfriend-wannabe Claire, all of whom have fled their native village to escape Vom Syrus’s rampaging Horde. Now, in the sequel, “Death at the Beginning of the Road” (which picks up right after the end of the first volume), the mismatched trio continue their journey toward Astolia, where they will stand before a Council to learn which of them are Chosen Ones. But things take a turn for the worse as the superintendent at one of their stops (where they’ve met up with several more mutant-powered children also on their way to Astolia, including the secretive magician Yassou) nearly succeeds in killing all of the potential Chosen Ones before Ralph and Yassou can escape. Also in this very eventful volume, Ralph is confronted with his mother’s killer and discovers his long-lost sister is alive ― all leading up to the third volume’s con¬cluding chapter of the first story arc of the series, “Dark Are the Stars” (to be released in 2014). Ralph Azham is presented in a uniquely elegant “landscape” format, designed by Trondheim himself, that allows the art to breathe while making for a distinctive series of pleasingly compact (and inexpensive) little hardcovers. Full-color
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Lewis Trondheim (one of the co-founders of the comics collective L’Association) lives and works in Montpellier, France. He won the career-spanning Angoulême International Comics Festival Grand Prize in 2006.
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