Tabletop gamers, it’s time to set aside the 20 sided die and head down to the local comic book shop and pick up IDW’s Dungeons and Dragons #0 issue that gives you a taste of the company’s two series coming later this year. We got out hands on a copy, and have a complete review, after the jump.
A CAMPAIGN ON THE PAGE
For those of you who have followed the Critical Hit podcast for the last year, you know the basic premise of what occurs when four or five adventurers get together for some dungeon trolling in search of adventure and riches. That’s exactly how this tale plays out as readers are introduced to the Human, the Dwarf, the Halfling, the Elf, and later the Dragonborn, make their way through a dungeon maze and into the Underdark. There they fight their way through a horde of Gnolls, avoid traps, find treasure, and take on a dragon. The ten page tale is like an entire dungeon delve on speed.
Those who play Dungeons and Dragons will get the game references right away, and that adds to the enjoyment of reading the tale. There are even a few moments where the characters poke fun at the situation, much like gamers do during actual game play, which is nice. Those who have never played D&D, yet like the world of fantasy and adventure can still enjoy the story without worrying about getting lost in the minutia.
The fact that there is so much going on is nice as it keeps your attention, but it is also somewhat of a drawback. John Rogers can only cram so much story into the 10 pages he’s been allotted, so in-depth character development is kept to a minimum, and there isn’t a lot of explanation as to why the characters are there, what their ultimate goals are , and so on. It is touched on briefly, but the greater story in this chapter is basic and fun.
STEREOTYPES A PLENTY
The art here is also exactly what you expect from the fantasy genre; hot girls wearing little, mail and leather on the fighters, and a blond Elf that seems more Legolas than original role. The fact that Andrea Di Vito relies on broad stereotypes when creating this world is acceptable as it makes it easier for non-D&D readers to jump on board and enjoy the ride.
This story is the lead-in to the on-going Dungeons and Dragons series that arrives in November, and if this is a real preview of the series to come, this should be a very enjoyable series. Even with the stereotypes and gameplay action, I enjoyed this a great deal.
Writer; Alex Irvine
Aritst: Peter Bergting
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Editor: Denton J. Tipton
LIMITED SERIES IN POPULAR SETTING
The Dark Sun campaign setting from 1991 is getting resurrected for the 4th Edition, and it is the setting for the Dark Sun limited series arriving in January. Unlike the main story, this six page tale introduces the reader to a Gladiator who is being sold back into slavery, escapes, and looks stay a step ahead of those who are tasked to track him down.
This story reads more like a Robert E. Howard Conan or Kull tale than a campaign based story most recognizable D&D universe. I think this type of story will work for the limited series, but if it were an ongoing, I think the story could easily get lost amongst the other barbarian/warrior stories that we’ve seen from other companies.
The art here is also very good as Peter Bergting finds ways to inject surprises in the panel as the fast paced action plays out across the page. The style is simpler than the detail found in the main story, but it is a style I have read in other books and I like the look. The best part of the art in this tale is the coloring by Ronda Pattison. She is able to create a world that feels hot and barren with liberal use of a warm color palette.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT
If you are into any kind of role playing fantasy game, be it Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, or something else all together, I really think you’ll enjoy the issue. It’s only a dollar, and at that price, you almost can’t let it slip by. I know I’ll be on for the Dungeons and Dragons ongoing series, but am still up in the air about the Dark Sun limited – heck I know I’ll pick up the first issue thanks to this preview. All in all a good, fun, and quick read that doesn’t ask you to make a huge commitment.