In many ways, Rocky Mountain Fire Lizard is a traditional fantasy quest story set against the backdrop of the American west in 1875. After a dragon flies through and destroys part of a Colorado settlement, a bounty is placed on its head. One of the many affected by the dragon’s arrival, a boy named Jeb takes up his father’s sabre and heads off to slay the dragon and protect the town.
But, Jeb isn’t on his own. His trusty navigator is Charlotte, the daughter of the railroad owner who lives in town. While Jeb might fit the romantic hero profile in background and appearance, it’s Charlotte who provides the attitude, dreaming of far away places and great adventures. While other characters want her to be the damsel in distress to Jeb’s hero, Charlotte is the hero of her own story and bucks those gender assumptions at every turn, and I love her for it. Her optimistic outlook is a perfect foil for Jeb’s oftentimes more practical outlook. Writer James Cartwright does a great job with Jeb and Charlotte’s banter, highlighting the different mindsets perfectly and giving them an almost sibling dynamic that enhances the story. By the end of this issue, it’s impossible not to love both of them.
While the characters are the best part of the issue, the beautiful black-and-white style of Scott Pellegri does as good of a job showcasing the landscape of the rocky mountains as it does its characters and more fantastical elements. The issue not only establishes the romantic quest tones but also plays with them. Just like Jeb’s more practical outlook or the role that Charlotte plays instead of the damsel in distress, there were several surprises for me reading this issue. Rocky Mountain Fire Lizard is a tightly told, self-contained story in its own right, although I wouldn’t say no to a sequel, and I doubt Charlotte would either.
Rocky Mountain Fire Lizard can be purchased digitally over at Graphicly.
Four and a Half Colorado Breed Dragon Slayers out of Five