The Chancellor and the Citadel TP
Publisher: Iron Circus Comics
Release Date: December, 2018
Price: $15.00
Creator: Maria Capelle Frantz
Format: 120 pgs., Full-Color, 6"x9", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9-781-9458-2026-7
Age Rating: Middle Grade (8-12)
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

This fantasy graphic novel has a complex and thought-provoking story, with a mysterious main character and a back-story that is part of the mystery.  The writing is better and more intriguing than the art, which is still very good.

It’s sort of a post-holocaust fantasy in which the apparently few surviving fantasy beings are at odds with the few surviving humans… or there may be more to the story than that, as is hinted in a few places in the tale.  The Chancellor, for example, is a puzzling figure, with much about him or her hidden from both the populace and the reader.

The Chancellor is the apparent ruler and defender of the non-human community, who are in a fortress of sorts.  This central character has amazing fighting skills and various forms of magic, but there are things which even great power can’t fight, and those things include the doubts of those the Chancellor is trying to protect.

The story brings up lots of topics for conversation, including fear of "the others" and the folly of a war based on that fear.  The reader doesn’t really learn whether one side or the other was in the right in the initial war, because it seems to be part of the point that blame doesn’t matter.  The mystery behind the Chancellor’s identity deepens throughout the story, though, in a way that became somewhat distracting by the end.  Luckily, that is the only real weakness, and it should be appealing to tweens and up.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.