VG Tribune

Review: Second Quest

November 15, 2015 / 11:27 PM

By: David Jones

Back in 2011, when The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword launched, gamers were eager to play through the origin story of the Hero, the Goddess, and the Master Sword. Unfortunately, despite its charming art style and amazing soundtrack, the game left a lot to be desired. Fi, the spirit inhabiting the sword that would be forged into the Master Sword, overexplained everything. The game world felt small, disconnected, and limited. And don’t even remind me of how many times we had to battle the Imprisoned.

Ultimately, for me at least, playing the game felt like a chore. And I wasn’t the only one who found Skyward Sword disappointing. In response to their feelings of discontentment in this entry to the Zelda series, Tevis Thompson (Author of “Saving Zelda“) and David Hellman (Artist from Braid) teamed up to create Second Quest, a graphic novel they launched a Kickstarter for in October of 2012.

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Second Quest introduces us to a world in the sky (not unlike Skyward Sword’s Skyloft) and Azalea, an intrepid young explorer with the mysterious ability to see into the distant past by touching and/or holding certain items and objects. We meet her and her friend Cale as they’re out exploring ruins and gathering relics. Azalea has made a hobby out of doing this, and we soon discover that she has amassed quite an impressive collection.

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Unfortunately, Azalea’s culture stagnated long before her birth. Her society follows this bizarre, bastardized version of the Legend of the Hero gamers who play The Legend Of Zelda games will instantly recognize. This grim tale has become the focal point of their society, and anyone or anything who stands out is immediately spoken to, ostracized, or worse. In fact, by the time we meet Azalea, her society is so obsessed with The Goddess and her wrath that they, under spiritual command of the Abbess, perform a cleansing rite every so often in order to convince people that things will carry on once they rid themselves of corruption, in whatever form it takes.

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So how does this relate to Second Quest’s narrative? Azalea, who is one of very few people in this fragile world with a mind of her own, soon becomes the target of everyone’s paranoia and anger. Saying anything beyond this would spoil a lot of the story, but after coming to the end of Second Quest, I felt that it’s far more clever than the authors intended. There are so many ways to interpret the material that I can’t cover them all here, but the book leaves you with many unanswered questions and deals with a lot of dark themes, including ethnic cleansing, racism, and an entire civilization with a superiority complex.

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David Hellman’s art brings the story to life in amazing detail. I studied each page carefully, and know it would take another read-through to properly appreciate the world he has illustrated here. I will point out that there are some confusing layout choices in the book that made me have to think about the order the panels played out, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story. In fact, there’s a page toward the end with so much chaos happening, I actually got anxious reading it.

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If you’re a hardcore Zelda fan, Second Quest has a lot to offer you. It deals with questions fans have pondered throughout the years, offers another perspective of a familiar story, and you’ll feel right at home with the art style. If you aren’t familiar with the Zelda series at all, Second Quest is still a worthwhile read for its story, artwork, and takeaway messages.

Second Quest is currently available in Hardcover from Amazon and FanGamer ($20), or E-Book ($10).

You can also visit the Second Quest official site for more information.

About the author /


David is a California native and has been a gamer all of his life. He is a graphic designer and the author of The Rainblade and Onyx The Half Hero Dragon.

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