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The Expanse: Dragon Tooth
Written by Andy Diggle

Reviewed by Galen Strickland
Posted December 9, 2023

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Based on the Expanse novels, this is a new addition to the story, not a rehash of things we have already read or seen on TV. While I have not heard any comments directly from the authors behind the pseudonym James S. A. Corey, the credits page for the Dragon Tooth graphic stories says "Developed by Daniel Abraham & Ty Frank." That may mean only "based on characters created by..." or it could mean they supplied ideas for the story. Many different books, films, and TV have received graphic treatments the past few years, but most of them are direct adaptations of the same story we have already seen. If that had been the case with Dragon Tooth I would not have been interested, since I have read all nine novels and eight shorter stories, and watched every episode multiple times. This is not even the first time the Expanse has been offered in graphic form, but I never bothered with the "Origins" comics since they were simply background information on the main characters, which I already knew from the books. The first volume of four issues is to be released December 19, but I have already read the first six issues, since I contributed to Boom! Studios Kickstarter campaign. What I read was in PDF form, loaded on my Kindle Fire, and they look great, but I will be getting the trade paperback in the mail soon after release. It is available for pre-order from both Amazon and Bookshop (links above), and I assume direct from comics shops, but neither of those two online retailers show a link for the hardcover editions, so they may be exclusive to Kickstarter contributers at a higher tier level than I could afford. What I paid is about the same as if I had waited and bought the individial volumes from Bookshop, but I also got a few other perks, including the "Origins" issues, so I may eventually take a look at them.

I don't want to say too much about the story yet, just some general comments. What I have to say will not be spoilers for those who have read up to the sixth novel, or watched all the show. If that doesn't apply to you, and you don't like spoilers, stop reading. Just get the comics and save them until you have reached that point. The events depicted take place after the final episode of the show on Prime, which covered up to the end of the sixth novel, Babylon's Ashes, with some added scenes from a later novella, "Strange Dogs." There was a big time jump between books six and seven, almost twenty years. That has puzzled me, but I assumed the gap was in order to justify the huge leap in technological development by Laconia, utilizing a sample of the protomolecule which they had obtained. Along with the various political factions on the different sides of many issues, Earth, Mars, the Belt, the militaries and corporations of each, the most dangerous group was the rogue Martians under the leadership of Admiral Winston Duarte. They conspired with the Belt's Free Navy, led by Marco Inaros, to get the protomolecule, then they left Inaros high and dry, and escaped Sol System through the spatial gate to Laconia. Duarte also abandoned some of his own forces, ones who had infiltrated Belter groups, and closed off the Laconia gate, denying anyone access to that system. The Dragon Tooth forces, under the nominal leadership of a man whose real name may or may not be Sohiro, are disrupting Belter, Earth, and Martian activities wherever they can. But for what purpose? If they can't go to Laconia, why are they destroying other ships and supplies bound for other gate systems, rather than using those supplies for themselves? That is yet another task faced by James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante. The first volume has just set the premise, with the resolution left for later volumes.

Considering the huge gap between the novels, I'm assuming there may be more graphic stories later, especially if these prove popular. What I have seen so far is well worth the cost of the Kickstarter, even without the extras. The images of the characters, ships, and stations are consistent with the show, and so far that also applies to the character interactions. Throughout the books Naomi Nagata was my favorite character, and the same for the show, although my appreciation for Amos Burton increased. That is a bit weird for me, since I am totally unlike a man like Amos, who is quick with a gun, or knife, or his fists. Another weird thing about the big time jump; Clarissa Mao was still on the Rocinante after twenty years, and the bond between her and Amos had grown, but was also beginning to show strain. Those two characters alone, in scenarios we have yet been able to read or watch, interests me as much as anything else. We'll just have to wait to see how things develop. I already have up to issue seven in PDF, but have only read through the sixth. I'm sure I will re-read the first volume when I get the paperback, but might hold off on the others until the second book is available next spring. I will update this page later, but for now I will say this should be high on every Expanse fan's wish list.


Related Links:
My reviews of the books, Part 1 - Leviathan Wakes - Babylon's Ashes
Part 2 - Persepolis Rising - Sins of the Fathers
The first 3 seasons of The Expanse on Syfy
Seasons 4-6 on Amazon Prime


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Andy Diggle

Developed by, and based on the books by, James S. A. Corey (Daniel Abraham & Ty Frank

Main Covers
Christian Ward


Raśl Angulo

Pat Brosseau

December 19, 2023

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