I know some people have been expecting this since I started writing here, and I’m not one to disappoint, but I didn’t want to start a precedent. Anyhow, now that my conceited notion of self worth is out of the way, start to find out how Fell’s Four originally formed after the jump.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS #6
Writer: John Rogers
Artist: Andrea Di Vito (pg 1) and Denis Medri (pg 2-22)
Colorist: Aburtov and Graphikslava
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Cover Artist: A – Tyler Walpole, B – Denis Medri, Paolo Fancescutto, RI-A and RI-B – Jorge Lucas
Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Previously in Dungeons & Dragons: While Fell’s Five stop the Cyclops’s plan for bringing troops from the Feywild to the primary plane, said stop cause them to become trapped in a cavern filling with Lava and no way to the surface. The only choice left, through the portal. . .
So we open the issue as the party tumbles through the portal and Fell starts thinking about how luck isn’t going to be enough to get out of this one, queue flash back. This seems as good a time in the story as any to actual give some background on the party and it’s handled fairly well starting with the obvious Adric Fell right as he starts his journey to becoming a true adventurer. Captain Jinx, the crazy gnome from the first few issues, convinces Fell to join a slightly eccentric (aren’t they all) wizard in his journey to “survey” some ruins. Fortunately, we get to see some of how bright Fell is as he figures out not just where there are going, but also for how long and that it is for collecting magic, though not underground as there is no Dwarf (yet).
Anyhow, some of the caravan gets named: the wizard Tarasgar, his apprentice Philomena, the serving boy Justin, and Commander Drey Harrick a Dragonborn. Justin also gets the greatest back story ever. You see, he believes he is destined to be a hero as he was left at the orphanarium by ancient witches and left with a magic dagger. Fortunately when the headmaster said his day of departure had arrived, some extra beds were needed for younger children just off the street. Like I said, brilliant. After the introductions the caravan stops because of a Dwarf in the middle of a river, Khal Khalundurrin the second member of Fell’s Five. But why would a Dwarf be standing in the middle of a river you ask? Well, to avoid the land shark of course.
So the bullette fight gives us some good character moments, Fell being clever (a few times), Tarasgar being a selfish coward, and Philomena attempting to be a selfless hero among the best. Defeating the bullette turns out to be a bit easier than expected as they manage to lose it in the river (riverbed’s too soft to fight the current, Dwarven secret). Khal joins the caravan, replacing the nameless guards and the head back to the quest.
Tarasgar announces their arrival at the lost ruins when they come to a large, empty chasm. Fell and Khal are mocking him when the City of Stairs appears out of thin air. Once within the city, Tarasgar’s mistakes lead the group into an Eladrin ambush that ends in a Mexican Standoff with Varis vs. Fell.
THERE BE BEASTS AHEAD
As you can see in the issue credits, the first page is done by the series regular artist, while the rest of the book is done by a newcomer. Since Di Vito is a fantastic artist, and I have loved his work the entire time, one would expect some concern with a change like this. I do believe they proved my concerns unwarranted, even silly, as the change up may have helped with the feel of a younger Fell and friends. And while everyone was expressive and unique, my favorite part is the bullette itself. Rather than the smooth, stream-lined cone of a monster we get in most of our Monster Manuals, this beast is rough and craggy, something that looks to actually come from the earth, but with a shine that suggests its usual method of travel.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY THIS BOOK
Seriously, between amazing fights and great character development the book stands tall on its own. Now branding it with the Dungeons & Dragons logo and managing to make it feel like an actual game; that is superb talent and gives the book a healthy 4.5 out of 5 stars. It barely misses the fifth star because the Dragonborn just looks flat.