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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 concluding 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.
Praise for Vol. 1:
"Trondheim is a master! Fun, irreverent, and filled with moments of truthiness! Just when you think you know where he's taking you, he suddenly turns sideways and surprises." – Jeff Smith, creator of Bone
"...Now, English readers can dig into another fantasy series populated by [Trondheim's] distinctive anthropomorphized animals and distinguished by equal parts cutting humor and bizarre plot twists... What seems like a good, old-fashioned unlikely-hero tale in the making actually turns out to be more complex and slippery, as Ralph’s past gets sliced in bit by bit as we gradually learn about the world he inhabits, all leading to a blindsiding reveal and a tantalizing finish. Trondheim’s cartooning is as saucy and quirky as ever in this first of six volumes that promises more endearing oddities to come." – Ian Chipman, Booklist
"Ralph Azham Vol. One is a nice little surprise; what initially looks cute and fun is dark and enjoyable, and Trondheim’s gradual reveals of the story’s contents are strong enough that it makes reading the next volume a must. . . I’m definitely back for Book Two; this was a great deal of fun." -Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics
"There’s action, drama, pratfalls, bad-ass mercenaries, and a last-panel surprise that promises future volumes will head off in entirely unexpected directions... Ralph Azham is off to a near-perfect start. It’s a quietly marvelous addition to the English-language catalog of a working world master. Get it while you can." -Matthew Everett, Metro Pulse