Journey with The Manticore… to the Cave of a Thousand Heroes! Your Major Spoilers review of Disney•PIXAR Onward: Manticore OGN from Dark Horse Comics awaits!
Writer: Mariko Tamaki and Dan Scanlon
Artist: Arianna Florean/Denny Minonne/Ferran Rodriguez/Ivan Nikulin/Mario del Pennino
Colorist: Ivan Shavrin
Letterer: Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Editor: Shantel LaRocque and Brett Israel
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: April 15, 2020
Previously in Onward: Manticore: Follow the Manticore on her quest to the Cave of a Thousand Heroes, from whence no other warrior has EVER returned. Along the way, the Manticore will make many strange allies, namely a very out-there Sprite named Pamila (Pam for short).
“MANTICORES ARE SERIOUS AND DEDICATED.”
We open with The Manticore, a dedicated and skilled hero, the last of her kind, who makes her living defending villages and cutting down monsters and menaces with her magic and her warrior skills. It’s a sadly lonely life, but that changes when a fellowship of young adventurers arrives at her door with a quest! Their warrior has been turned to stone in the Cave of a Thousand Warriors, and they want Manticore to join them in freeing her. Of course, they only have a limited time, as any warrior turned to stone will stay permanently petrified if not freed by THE NEXT warrior within four days. Manticore is more than ready for the task, but her newfound friends include a wizard who can’t figure out her spells, a bard with low charisma and even less tact and a thief… Well, she’s VERY good at what she does, but that includes robbing them all blind, taking the horses, the victuals and all their money. Manticore is sure she can handle anything thrown at her, but she finds her actions slowly crushing the fellowship’s spirits with every victory.
“I HAVE HELP!”
Having not seen the film yet, I have NO idea how or if it fits in with that world or its timeline. That said, I really love this story. The message that everyone has something to contribute is one that always resonates with me, and Manticore’s realization that she will fail in this task because she can’t trust anyone is a good lesson for young readers to learn. This book is an all-ages book with a broad appeal (I honestly love that the legendary warrior is a woManticore) and the story is engaging enough to keep an oldster like me entertained while remaining accessible to someone 12 & under, without talking down to them. The character designs are all kind of adorable while still feeling basically human, and the level of expression they’re given is very impressive. Pam’s irritated face, Manticore’s determination or the mage’s distress and self-doubt, it’s all there on the page and beautifully colored. Best of all, you’re getting the equivalent of 3 full regular-size comics for less than the price of two, making for a good deal on a good book.
BOTTOM LINE: A LOVELY TALE
In short, Disney•PIXAR Onward: Manticore OGN may be a mouthful to say and a monster to type, but it’s a fully-realized and well-crafted story from top to bottom, with adventure, emotion and a couple of important lessons for readers of all ages, ending with a truly delightful sequence and earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. I highly recommend this book for comic-lovers, even if I have no idea why it’s tied into the ‘Onward’ universe, and I hope to see more of Pam, Manticore and their Fellowship in the future.
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DISNEY•PIXAR ONWARD: MANTICORE OGN
I have no idea if this has any connection to the film, but it's a bright, entertaining and complex adventure with characters who rise above cartoony to feel real and an ending I really love, especially the part about bearing the weight of our own expectations. This is a good book and a good buy.