Dungeons & Dragons Comics Preview

There isn’t a lot of cause for comic book reviews on GFG, but I picked up the $1 introductory issue of IDW’s new Dungeons & Dragons comic yesterday. Issue #0 has two previews for not only the Dungeons & Dragons series, but also the upcoming Dark Sun series. Both books look as though they will have very different tones.

The main Dungeons & Dragons comic will please fans of swashbuckling adventure. The book is about a band of adventures known as “Fell’s Five,” named after their leader, the human fighter Adric Fell. They are an iconic D & D party, and include a dwarf paladin, an elven ranger, a halfling rogue, and a tiefling warlock.

The 10-page preview story is full of action and quips, yet it feels too inspired by the games. The paladin is constantly praising Moradin, the ranger shoots lots of arrows, and the rogue searches for traps. You can also notice certain feats and powers being used in the art. It makes for a fun read in a $1 preview, but I don’t know if I would want to read an entire series that looks like an adaptation of someone’s Wednesday night game.

Aside from that gripe, most  John Rogers writing  is fun and witty, if light. Andrea di Vito’ artwork fits the tone of the book well, and her action scenes are clear and easy to follow. For a book that focuses on fighting so much, this is shines.

Issue #1 is out in November, and I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of D & D and want to see more stories set in the core D & D world. The book should be fun, and maybe they can be as good of a licensed comic as the various Star Wars stories. I think it could easily be as entertaining as the Knights of the Old Republic series.

Dark Sun, written by Alex Irvine, is coming out in January, and it looks like it will have a much more serious tone and an involved plot. A gladiator named Grudvik is sold out by his royal lover, and sent to the fighting pits. He quickly escapes into the desert, with a mysterious Tiefling merchant on his trail. This could become a Conan trope, but the romance of the character and the supporting cast should elevate the book above stereotypes. Peter Bergting’s art is loose in a good way, but Ronda Pattison’s colors are much more muted than the main D & D comic, capturing the grim feel of the Dark Sun setting. While Grudvik may be humorless, he’ll have a partner named Aki who looks like he’ll be providing a lot of comic relief to balance the book.

Issue #0 is worth the dollar, especially with the bonus interviews and sketches that are included. I don’t expect either series to win any awards, but they will probably gain a cult following. I wouldn’t mind following the adventures of Fell’s Five, if only to get ideas for my own campaigns, and Dark Sun has the makings of a very decent tale. If neither of these books sound interesting, but you still want to read a D & D comic, then maybe you’ll be interested in the just announced Drizzt series by Salvatore coming in 2011. I hear that Drizzt fella is pretty popular.

And if you’re a fan of the old school D & D comics, IDW will be releasing Omnibus editions of those classics.

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