Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this comic in exchange for my open and honest review.
YES! I was so happy when I heard Sun Dragon’s Song #2 released on NetGalley. Thank you to Glaiza @ Paper Wanderer for letting me know about it. It has been a hard couple of days so I was excited I can relax and enjoy a diverse comic about dragon riders. Without further delays, let’s get down into the second issue of Sun Dragon’s Song!
As in reviewing any sequel, there may be spoilers from the first issue. Check out my review of Issue #1 here.
We are back on the Dragon Farm where Ho Yi just got the news he was accepted to the Dragon Riding Academy. The news spread around the farm and all of a sudden, the other students started including and wanting to hang out with him. This panel was particularly powerful to me and how marginalized folks are often treated -> pushed away until dominant culture deems they have some value. But it is not all fun and games for Ho Yi as he faces the consequences of pushing against the status quo of what a dragon rider ‘should be.’ We are taken through Ho Yi’s first ride on a sun dragon as he is taken to the academy. On this ride, he mentions their used to be a land of matriarchs, where only women would train and ride dragons. I look forward to learn more about this matriarchal society of dragon riders and this directly addresses my first review talking about the number of women of color in this comic.
We get our first look at the academy – a place of privilege in the world of sun dragons. Ho Yi experiences amenities he has never had before… plumbing, a room to himself, and glassware. As the new trainees are touring the academy, there is interesting information about the sun dragon’s biology. Sun dragons can pick the biological sex and depending on their diet, can become a particular dragon. This is the first time Ho Yi is confronted with thinking about dragons in terms of biological sex.
Ho Yi starts his physical training and finds it very challenging since he is differently abled. While some trainees are rude to him, there are others, including his instructor, that empathizes, supports, and stands with Ho Yi. Ho Yi goes through situations similar to what most marginalized people have to do: explain themselves and their existence to others. His friends (with good intentions and maybe a bit bluntly without regard for the students) shows Ho Yi the diversity of ability within the dragon rider community -> blindness, deafness, and more. Ultimately, this is about how Ho Yi is struggling with the question: do I fit in here? This is the question of marginalization and I think it holds a powerful theme in this comic.
I love the artwork and the story continues to be charming, although takes an ominous turn at the end. Look for Issue #2 of Sun Dragon’s Song out in March!
Final Rating: 4/5