Review – Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar Comic

Main cover art, by Jeff Dekal, for Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar. This standalone comic book is published by BOOM! Studios.
Main cover art by Jeff Dekal. BOOM! Studios.

It’s a great time to be a Dune fan! Of course, we have the upcoming movie later this year, but the good people over at BOOM! Studios are also publishing some amazing comics. In this review we are going to take a look at Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar #1, from authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, and illustrated by artist Adam Gorham (The New Mutants: Dead Souls, Punk Mambo), colorist Patricio Delpeche (Origins), and letterer Ed Dukeshire (Once & Future). This one-shot comic book hit stores and digital outlets this week.

The story first introduces us to Jopati Kolona, a high-ranking officer of the Emperor’s elite Sardaukar armed forces, right in the middle of the attack on House Atreides in Arrakeen. If you’re familiar with the original Dune novel by Frank Herbert, this is a crucial event in the first part of the book. Jopati reflects on his identity and pride in being one of the renowned Sardaukar warriors. This made me think a lot about the Spartan soldiers in Frank Miller’s 300.

Introduction to Colonel Bashar Jopati Kolona, main character in the 'Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar' comic book.

Then we see the first flashback of a young Jopati on his home world of Borhees, when he was only 13 years old. There’s a glimpse of his family life and we learn how they were attacked by one of the other noble Houses. Shortly after realizing that both of his parents are dead, he gets taken away to Salusa Secundus by a Sardaukar soldier. There Jopati—along with his two brothers—have to endure the harshest boot camp you could ever imagine. These pages are beautifully illustrated by Adam Gorham throughout.

The book does an amazing job of transitioning back and forth between the present day, in the heat of the battle taking place at Arrakeen, and other flashbacks, as we progressively explore key moments from the character’s life. These offer intriguing insights into what drives these feared fighters.

Sardaukar, disguised in Harkonnen battle armor, engage in close quarters melee with the Atreides.

One of my favorite moments has to be the scene where we’re shown a young Duke Leto Atreides and his bodyguard—the future sword master Duncan Idaho—having an audience with the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, on Kaitain. Without going into majors spoilers, that conversation and its revelations, really change the overall outlook of this story.

This comic does something that I love, when you think it’s going to turn left, it turns right… Someone who you think is your enemy, may actually be your ally.

Overall, this self-contained tale succeeds in adding another layer of lore to one of the most intense scenes in the original Dune novel. Like every great story out there, when it comes to those key moments in history, there’s inevitably a different point of view. I’ve always been interested in minor characters and the impact that their interactions have on the main story. This is the perfect example of that in action.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar, you won’t regret it. You can also find a five-page preview, as part of our earlier first look.

The digital version can be downloaded instantly from Amazon, and enjoyed anywhere with either the ComiXology or Kindle apps:

We’ll be going into more details about this book and the other comics, that are currently being published by BOOM! Studios, in future episodes of Dune Talk, our official podcast. For now, keep reading and enjoy your Spice Melange lattes.