By David Page
Small note: Images used within this episode come from Simon Frasers own defunct Nikolai Dante site. Congratulations on fifteen years of a fantastic saga Simon and Robbie! I eagerly await with baited breath the finale this Friday when I get it.
Эписоде 13.1 Cruel Seas Progs 1148-1149
Story: The Pacific Ocean, north of the Bismarck Archipelago. A ship called the Querelle encounters the pirate queen Katarina Dante, her crew and vessel. She scolds Captain Sarakin for venturing into her territory. She administers punishment beatings for such infringements. Sarakin offers valuable gems as a tribute.
Katarina demands to see the cargo for herself it is a hold full of people abducted from Rudinshtein. Apparently the governor of that land has been drunk for weeks because his woman is marrying someone else. Katarina says there’s almost nothing in this life she hasn’t done or had done to her but she won’t tolerate the slave trade in her waters. She orders Sarakin to free the slaves or die, but the captain has covered them in fuel and threatens to burn them alive. The flaming torch is shot from his hand by a masked man about to ram Sarakin’s ship.
Dante storms Sarakin’s ship. Katarina doesn’t recognize the masked man but her first mate Marguerite Dumas admires the fighting style she’s always had a thing about men in masks. Sarakin taunts Katarina for her age. She has crossed or crushed every captain amongst the pirate crews at some time.
Sarakin predicts they will spit on her body when he sails into Escondida with it. Katarina executes Sarakin while Dante rescues the slaves taken from Rudinshtein. He takes off his mask so Katarina can recognize her son. He tells her to shoot him it’s no worse than what she’s already done to him. A burning mast falls between them and Dante flees with the freed slaves.
Afterwards Katarina learns Dante was using a Romanov ship with the dynastic marking removed. The Pirate Queen knows her son is allied with his father now and feels saddened by it although believing that as bad as he is, she has treated him worse…
First appearance: Katarina Dante: Dantes mother, she has been mentioned in passing but this is her first physical appearance in the saga. She was born on a slave ship, her mother dying as she gave birth in the hold. The slave master told Katarina her mother dying standing up, the crush of people so great the body stayed upright while the baby lay underneath in the blood and filth. The slave master was the first man Katarina ever killed. Ever since then even as she became a pirate queen she will never ever tolerate slave trading in her territory which a group of pirates find to their cost in this story.
Marguerite Dumas: Katarinas right hand woman and possible lesbian lover…of course that may just be my interpretation of their relationship. She did say she liked men in masks…but well just wait until the pirate saga when she becomes a regular character and judge for yourselves…
Foreshadowing: Dantes state after Jenas announcement is brought up in passing. This whole story foreshadows the turn the series will take during the beginning of its second act. The pirates, Katrina’s shoddy treatment of his son. The black dragons hatred of Katrina…
David’s final notes: As mentioned in foreshadowing this is a rather important story as it hints to the future of the saga while also giving us the first appearance of what will become the other major artist of the saga. Yes this is John Burns first work on the character and there can not be a better artist for this particular story. It is no shock that he will draw the entirety of the story which this one foreshadows…
Эписоде 13.2 Requiem for Lost Love Prog 1150
There is no greater sorrow than to remember happiness when miserable
The inferno; Dante Alighieri
Story: Each year on the anniversary of Eloise Di Jannissaire’s death Dante disappears for the day. In 2668 he is travels to Rudinshtein through the nearby province of Domacha, governed by the Tsar’s former executioner, Andrei Volk. Volk liked to strangle his victims to death, staring into their eyes as he did so.
Nikolai intervenes to save two teenagers, Josef and Rebecca, who were trying to escape to Rudinshtein. Volk has revived the ancient law of Prima Nocta, First Night, giving him the right of sexual relations with any common woman on the eve of her wedding. Josef and Rebecca married in secret but her pregnancy made their situation obvious.
Dante still has the holo-image of himself and Eloise from their wedding day but it is destroyed by Volk’s men. Nikolai faces Volk in unarmed combat and kills him without using his bio-blades or rifle. Afterwards he takes Rebecca and Josef to the Governor’s mansion in Rudinshtein, putting them up in the guest chambers. He asks them to call their baby Eloise if it is a girl, as a remembrance of his lost love.
Dante’s kill count:
Five of Volks men squashed by a huge crucifix after they very foolishly shot Dantes only keepsake of his lost wife.
Volk himself given a taste of his own medicine by Dante.
Total Count 41
David’s final notes: A short story which both serves as a reminder of Dantes guilt in Eloises death and a bridge to the tragic events of the next story. The world of Dante is about to get much darker as everything we knew and love about the saga is turned upon its head…
Next time: Everything changes….
For more of David’s 2000AD related reviews, check out his website HERE