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'Dune: House Corrino' #1 Is Intoxicating But Convoluted At Times

Dune: House Corrino Issue 1

About Dune: House Corrino Issue 1

Dune: House Corrino Issue 1 is co-written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, illustrated by Simone Ragazzoni, colored by Dan Jackson and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

The main cover is by artist Raymond Swanland. With variant covers by Veronica Fish, Rebeca Puebla and Dan Mora.

It was published in March 2024 by BOOM! Studios.

Dune: House Corrino Issue 1 Summary and Review

On the planet Arakkis and under the cover of darkness, Fremen warrior Stilgard leads his men up a sheer cliff face to enter Sietch Hadith, a base which numerous House Harkonnen troops occupy and are holding tonnes of water and spice. Upon taking out the Harkonnen's with little resistance, Stilgard orders his men to force the Harkonnen's to load up the spice and water onto their ship, for the Fremen to take back to their base.

A plan which ends with the Fremen killing the remaining Harkonnen's before Stilgard orders their corpses to also be taken. Perhaps to harvest what remaining water is in their bodies or just to rob the Harkonnen's of the ability to honour their dead? Who knows. Either way, it's a successful night that has borne results of which he's sure that one of their own, Liet-Kynes, will be pleased of when he returns from the Imperial Capital: Kaitain. Despite being a cold open, I felt the concept of the Harkonnen's being an easy victory for Stilgard was a hard sell. Unfortunately, I just wasn't sold on this premise.

Dune: House Corrino Issue 1, Front Cover
Dune: House Corrino Issue 1, Front Cover

What follows next and for the majority of the issue is the activities of Liet-Kynes, the Arakkis appointed planetologist and Fremen citizen, who appears before the Royal court and the Emperor - on Kaitain - to advise of the shady dealings of the Harkonnen hierarchy by reporting the bare minimum spice being traded and skimming a bit off the top by means of some snore-inducing forensic accounting which almost puts the Emperor to sleep (and this reader as well).

Despite this, Liet-Kynes' anxiety of being on a sand-less world devoid of clean air and polluted with the usual imperialistic politics of a dull and bloated empire is felt from panel to panel. Leaving his plan to get the Harkonnen's ceremoniously ejected from Arakkis a dismal failure - with the Emperor leaving the usual I'll look into this and get back to you manager speech. Point is; I wouldn't hold your breath, Liet, time to get the fuck out of dodge! This marks about one third into the comic book issue.

Moving on, those who might be familiar with the Dune movies or the books, would start to recognise some of the main characters in Frank Herbert's classic with the mention of Mother Lobia passing away and the news that Gesserit Sister, Jessica, concubine to Leto Atreides is with child (who would become Paul Atreides in the books). Leto and Jessica, who are hiding out on Castle Caladan, are introduced to the new and somewhat improved Ixian Prince Rhombur who is now 95% cyborg and determined to get his revenge on those Tleilaxu bastards. A gathering in a banquet format which I could either take or leave as it doesn't does much for me in further the Dune: House Corrino storyline.

However, it does provide an easy segway into the Tleilaxu laboratory stronghold where Master Ajidica is busy scheming and plotting a way to perfect his synthetic brand of the melange spice by experimenting (we assume) on Arakkis worms. A process which has been going on for over twenty years and hasn't yielded the desired results but could if Ajidica was to mix in the DNA of Houses Atreides and Vernius. I would love if one day someone could explain the science of the Dune universe, but then, Herbert's original concept for Dune was a definitive meld of fantasy and psychedelica.

Perhaps it's best we don't understand it!? It's certainly no worse than Star Wars Episode I's midichlorian gobbledygook. No surprises here that House Atreides and House Vernius are refusing to hand over their DNA records to a race who is basically Dune's answer to the Warhammer's Adeptus Mechanicus. So a plan is hatched by the Tleilaxu's lords to infiltrate the Planet Beakkal, a site where Atreides and Vernius ancestors fought in the name of the emperor, and a ripe location for DNA raiding.

Throughout the next scene it's revealed the Emperor is well aware of the synthetic spice plans by Ajidica and that this has been a strategy of the emperor's decades in the making. However, deep in the thought he's become concerned with the news from earlier on in the issue that the Harkonnen's are likely stockpiling the spice melange and keeping it hidden from the emperor's watchful gaze. His contemplation is soon interrupted by Count Hasimir Fenrig who spends much of the scene reassuring the emperor, but also reveals he has a bastard half-brother known as Tyros Reffa, who is hiding amongst House Taligari on the planet Zanovar. A location one of the many illegal spice stockpiles the emperor intends to usurp. Which is easily the most "Game of Thrones" scene in this entire issue.

In a highly emotive moment, Liet-Kynes, returns to the Fremen on Arrakis and Stilgard informs him of their victory. Meanwhile, Leto Atreides makes a plan to take care of the Tleilaxu on two fronts, while a smaller group smuggle onto Ix to assist Ixian resistance leader; C'tair Pilru. As another led by Leto's right hand man, Duncan Idaho, ambush the Tleilaxu's who have bribed their way onto Planet Beakkal. A plan foiled as these Tleilaxu DNA pirates are taken into custody.

As success is heralded by House Atreides for their role on Beakkal, Liet-Kynes spies on the Harkonnen's, witnessing an enraged Baron Harkonnen at the loss of his spice, which is incredible to behold. As his workers, mostly made of Fremen, plan to transport the illegal shipment of spice he's keeping from the emperor, Wormsign is spotted but no one is signalling the alarm. An obvious attempt by the Baron to claim worms destroyed the spice shipment and his base. Leaving Liet to watch on in horror as several Fremen are engulfed by the titanic worm.

There's no arguing that fully appreciating this comic book issue will take a couple of times reading through. As it takes the boldness and vision of Frank Herbert's original epic and reimagines it as an incredible struggle for power and control, involving all the main houses, it treads into the territory of becoming too convoluted for the comic book medium. However, it sparks an interest that will intoxicate readers new and old.


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