So far, the comic adaptation of Dune: House Atreides has been remarkably effective. I am not a huge fan of the Expanded Dune Universe. The novels written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson distinctly less impressive than the original series written by Frank Herbert. Yet, the first bunch of books starting with Dune: House Atreides was quite good. The court intrigue and background exploration of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood were the highlights of this Great Houses Trilogy. Now, with issue Dune: House Atreides #8 we are about two-thirds into the novel. That means we do not get every scene adapted, but we do get the highlights. Truth be told, that may just be for the best. Issue #8 starts off were the previous ended. Once again, the adaptation tries to juggle multiple story threads. It starts with the young Duncan Idaho caring for the Duke’s Salusan bulls.
Duncan’s warning that the bulls are unusually aggressive are ignored, with faithful consequences later this issue. Meanwhile on Wallach IX Reverend Gaius Mohiam observes her first progeny with Baron Harkonnen, the sickly girl is a disappointment that forced her to have sex with the Baron a second time. That resulted in a rape, though Mohiam will have her revenge. Now heavily pregnant a second time Mohiam smothers her first infant to rid the sisterhood of the lesser result. Soon after Mohiam gives birth, to Jessica. Meanwhile Duke Atreides decides to fight the Salusan bull in honor of Rhombur and Kailea. Duncan’s final warning merely sees him locked up in the stables. Despite the Duke’s best efforts, he ends up being impaled and killed, making Leto the new Duke of House Atreides. Of course, what he does not know is that his mother is partly responsible.
Dune: House Atreides #8 caps off this volume
Meanwhile on Arrakis Kynes is about to be married, after surviving a assassination attempt the Fremen have become enamored with him. By marrying Stilgar’s sister he can learn all about their customs and further convince them of his terraforming plan. Kynes decides to travel to the Southern Polar Region with its small patch of palm trees and ice. It is only when he sets out with his Fremen travel companions that he discovers how the journey is to be made. In equal measure of horror and fascination Kynes observes as a Fremen lures in a worm, affixes hooks and lines and climbs on top of the animal. For Kynes and his companions this is the first of many worm-rides they will take to reach the south. Meanwhile on Bela Tegeuse the emperor Sardaukar hunters catch up with Lady Shando and kill her, thus starting Earl Vernius feud with the Corrino’s.
While this issue jumps between several storylines the events depicted on Caladan (the duke’s death) and Arrakis were the real meat of the story. More panels were allocated to show crucial aspects of the story that just needed to be shown. This issue may well have seen the best illustrations by Dev Pramanik yet. Besides the beautiful locations his drawing also brings mystery and emotion. Anger, hatred, sorrow and surprise are clearly visible on the faces of characters. In the case of the shocking death of Duke Atreides this plays ample dividend. The coloring by Alex Guimares is equally wonderful as is the cover by Jeff Dekal and Evan Cagle. It seems inspired by Moebius, those familiar with Alien will know what I mean. Issue #8 closes the current collection. The next four will finish the adaptation of the book in which events depicted will reverberate.