Dark Souls: Winter’s Spite #4 sees the series come a conclusion. Picking right up where the last issue left off, Andred, our apparently noble main character stands outside the House of Winterspite, a massive house drawn and coloured in the perfect manner to give off feelings of dread just by looking at the place. As he enters the house he is met with horrors Dark Souls will be familiar with and the reasoning for Andred’s long, arduous journey is revealed – and the truth behind the journey that has consumed his mind and this truth is far from heroic. I’d hate to spoil the secret here but I will say the choice of writing the entire comic from Andred’s perspective pays off massively here, it raises the issue that the hero of the main story is not a hero at all and his quest is far from righteous.
It’s leaves us wondering if Andred is simply nothing more than a madman or if he is a poor unfortunate soul, nothing but a slave to the weapon he craves day and night. Yet as we wrestle with the thought of our apparent hero not being much of one, Andred finally meets Parnethia, the creator of Winter’s Spite. Her design reminds me of Crossbreed Priscilla from Dark Souls and she appears to share the same personality traits if a bit colder. Another individual damaged beyond repair due to unfortunate circumstances she asks Andred for help yet before he can answer he is thrust into the fight with his nemesis. Finally after three issues we are treated to the final battle between Andred and the nameless soldier, which turns out to be a completely one-sided fight. A slight bit disappointing until you dive a little bit deeper into the clues left within the comic.
The art is a perfect fit and is essentially the kind of art you would want to see in a Dark Souls comic. Both character and monster design are detailed, giving the creatures a gruesome look and the characters an almost otherworldly feel to them. Everything fits together well and nothing feels out of place or odd. Essentially, it feels like a Dark Souls game, only in comic form. It’s the design of the environment that really clinches the art for me due to its great use of detail and perspective. Right from the first page we are treated to a spectacularly drawn house of Winterspite, its tall gothic design towering above the main character, its interior rotten and wasted away. The art adds a lot of flavour to the already great story.
The story is also incredibly well-written, and the story provides the information necessary for readers to construct their own theories about the characters, yet not enough information to simply be told what is truly correct. This has always been a reoccurring theme for anything that is related to Dark Souls and its lore and the comic is no different. So, I decided to try to put together some of the clues and construct my own little theory about the true story of this comic and why the last battle was won so easily despite the big lead up to it. Stop reading now to avoid spoilers.
So here it is: my little theory. We know Andred has done nothing but want for his family’s blade throughout the entire series. We know it’s a weapon called The Pyreblade and it was forged through ancient pyromancies that use chaos fire which can enslave its users. Meanwhile, the nameless warrior on the other hand is simply a warriors whose sole goal in the realm of winter’s Spite is to slay Parnessia, unbind the dreadful world of Winter’s Spite and free those who are trapped within it. My theory for this is simple, Andred is no hero and never has been, he is a thrall of the Pyreblade, and essentially Andred is the villain of the comic. The nameless warrior on the other hand is the hero. I know I could be entirely wrong but it’s this kind of storytelling and writing that makes the comic so enjoyable. To think that we may have been following the villain the entire time would definitely be interesting and would explain Andred’s almost overpowering strength. Winter’s Spite leaves a lot of room for discussion among its readers, each of us can make our own theories on the characters and world. It’s an essential part of the Souls series and I’m glad this comic continues this trend to the standard of the games albeit on a smaller scale.