How to Train Your Dragon: The Serpent's Heir by Dean DeBlois, Richard Hamilton, and Doug WheatleyHOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: The Serpent’s Heir by Dean DeBlois, Richard Hamilton, & Doug Wheatley

How to Train Your Dragon: The Serpent's Heir by Dean DeBlois, Richard Hamilton, and Doug WheatleyThis graphic novel takes place shortly after the events of the film How to Train Your Dragon 2, which finds Hiccup as the new chief of Berk in the wake of his father’s death. Amidst the rebuilding of the village, the suspicious nature of Berk citizens at the presence of outsiders, and the ongoing training of new dragons, it’s a struggle for Hiccup to adjust to his new role as leader.

So when an envoy named Calder arrives from the island of Nephenthe, Hiccup jumps at the chance to take some time off. Along with Toothless, Astrid, Fishlegs, Snotlout, Eret, the twins and his mother, he travels to Nephenthe at the behest of King Mikkel the Munificent to investigate strange tremors across his island.

If you’re a fan of the How to Train Your Dragon films or animated television show, then there’s nothing in The Serpent’s Heir (2017) that’ll disappoint you. Perhaps Dean DeBlois’ and Richard Hamilton’s story is a little on the thin side (especially with its bland villain), but all the characters are as likeable as ever, and it builds nicely on some of the things established in the last movie: Stoick’s absence, Toothless as alpha, Hiccup as chief, and the ongoing research and classification of dragons.

The banter and interactions between the characters is excellent (though I would have liked a bit more between Hiccup and Valka, his long-lost mother) and you can almost hear the cadences of the voice-actors in the dialogue they’re given. Likewise, Doug Wheatley’s artwork carries a strong resemblance to that which appears on up on the screen, though at times it also reminded me of Terry DiTerlizzi (best known for illustrating THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES) in their brightness and colour — and some of the dragons that appear near the end of the story.

The best thing I can say about The Serpent’s Heir is that it really does feel like you’re watching an episode of HTTYD — in fact, I’ve no idea why this story wasn’t adapted for an episode. There’s some good material here that would have looked great on screen, not to mention more widely seen had it aired on television.

Published in 2017. The dragons of Berk are coming to Dark Horse! Hiccup, Toothless, and all their dragon-riding friends from DreamWorks Animation’s acclaimed How to Train Your Dragon films are starting new adventures in comics! Created with the help of the film’s writer, director, and producer Dean DeBlois, these graphic novellas will bridge the gap between the second film and the upcoming third film. More adventures, more dragon lore, and more fun! You won’t have to wait years for more dragons; they are coming to you–in comics!


  • Rebecca Fisher

    REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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