My ending for this chapter was the last page, page 24. Phil insisted it needed something extra to bring it together. Even now, it’s hard for me to be 100% objective about which of us was right.

CONS: Page 24 ended with an exclamation point, this page ends with an ellipsis. We swap out a lot of raw emotional energy (fear, hate, insecurity, victory, painful embarrassment), for Gravedust sittin’ and thinkin’ and worryin’, with a little warm but much calmer emotion at page 25’s finish. The page basically resolves any questions about Gravedust trusting Bandit in the long term that Chapter 14 opened up, and maybe not in the most dramatically satisfying way: it would’ve been interesting to resolve them in Chapter 17 and 18 while they were on the battlefield together.

PROS: On the other hand, those last few panels are really cute, and not every little rift needs to be resolved in a big emotional storm. The page itself may have been a necessary review and breather before we followed up on the issues mentioned in panels 2 and 3, going off to confront Syr’Nj’s people shortly before the Savage armies do. (Penk’s carefree smile juxtaposed with the careworn grimaces of the other troll riders is a nice touch, John.) And I like how Gravedust recognizes that treating family as family is more essential to his hierarchy of needs than just writing about having family. So I dunno which choice was right, but there’s a lot here I can enjoy.

NEXT: A bonus story from the print volumes!