Saturday, January 1, 2011

dungeons & dragons comic book

“It is a time of magic and monsters, a time when the civilized world has been reduced to a few scattered points of light glowing with stubborn determination amid a rising tide of shadows. It is a time when only the bravest dare tread the wilds of the unknown.

A small town built upon the ruins of a larger city, Fallcrest lies at the crossroads of the Nentir Vale, a great wilderness dotted with a handful of inhabited villages and towns where bandits and monsters roam freely, threatening all who venture far from the settlements.

This is a place in need of a few heroes.”
* * *
So begins Issue #0 of IDW Publishing’s new DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS comic book. That special issue has two stories that introduce the heroes and worlds of both the ongoing D&D series (debuted in November 2010) and the DARK SUN five-issue series (launches in January 2011).

In Issue #0, a 10-page story (“Fell’s Four Five”) establishes the cast for the DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS series. Surprisingly, the comic doesn’t start off in a tavern, but in a good old dungeon with Adric Fell (human knight) and Khal Khalundurrin (dwarf paladin) smashing through a wooden door and immediately battling some filthy gnolls slavers. Making their way down into the Underdark, Adric and Khal collect the other members of their party, Bree Three-Hands (halfling rogue) and Varis (elf ranger). Fell’s Four invade the Underdark searching for a band of brigands, but instead find the aforementioned gnoll slavers… and a young black dragon. Our heroes manage to slay the dragon and gnolls, saving the human slaves, thanks to the help of a hottie with horns and a tail, Tisha Swornheart (tiefling warlock).

As of this posting, two more issues (#1 and #2) of the comic have been released.

In Issue #1 (Shadowplague, Part One: Bad Day), Tisha officially becomes the newest member of Adric’s company and Fell’s Five finds themselves embroiled in a supernatural zombie attack plaguing the town of Fallcrest. Attempting to find the leaky portal to the Shadowfell that’s allowing dark energies to infect everyone’s minds, the adventurers battle an evil changeling and encounter zombie orphans. Good times.

In Issue #2 (Shadowplague, Part Two: Hide in Plain Sight), as the heroes leave Fallcrest and pursue the changeling, they come across a caravan under attack by orcs. Believing their quarry is pinned down by the ambush, Fell’s Five punches through the orc line and joins the besieged caravan. With a doppelganger carrying a nightmare artifact hiding in plain sight among the frightened travelers and a band of bloodthirsty orcs pressing home their attack, the caravan leader tells Adric, “This is a very bad rescue.”

The last time I bought a comic book it cost 75 cents, so I was a bit dismayed to discover that a comic nowadays goes for $3.99, but I have to say that the new DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS series sure looks like each action-packed issue will be worth every penny. The art (Andrea Di Vito) and coloring are fantastic and strike just the right note to believably portray the world of a fantasy roleplaying game. The writing of John Rogers breathes fresh life into stereotypical D&D characters (halfling rogue, dwarf paladin of Moradin, elf ranger, etc.) through witty dialogue and skillful storytelling.

After receiving Issue #0 for free at my first Encounters session at Total Escape Games, I’ve found myself eagerly looking forward to the release date of each new issue. If you play D&D or are simply a fan of sword-and-sorcery fantasy adventures, then I recommend you run out to your local comics store and pick up the DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS comic book.

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