It is said that everyone is the hero of their own story. But does that include giant space hamsters? Read on and find out, if you dare! Or, you know, just look at the adorable cover on Dungeons and Dragons Evil at Baldur’s Gate #5 from IDW Publishing.
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Francesco Mortarino
Colorist: Jordi Escuin
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 29, 2018
Previously in Evil at Baldur’s Gate: The heroes have adventured far and wide, in Ravenloft and in the frozen north. Now they have returned to the city, and each one, in turn, has a story of their might, craft, or cunning…
Dungeons &Dragons Evil at Baldur’s Gate #5 shows us that a hero doesn’t always need to be the biggest or toughest, or carry the largest sword. In fact, sometimes a hero can be roughly…pocket sized. Yes, this is a story about Boo, the Hamster, formerly a giant space hamster, according to his buddy Minsc. We start out with Boo waking up from his cozy spot in Minsc’s cloak. Something is on his mind. He wiggles his way out the window and up to the roof. Then he hears voices in the alley. A party of ruffians is looking for Minsc and his pals!
There is a clever moment here as this gang, ostensibly on a stealth mission, are wondering why Baden, the tracker, has brought his full pack along with him. As they have a whispered discussion about finding the secret hatch Minsc must have used to give them the slip, Boo valiantly leaps in and lands on Baden’s pack. He starts furiously gnawing on things, and with great comedic timing, as the gang talks about the need for silence, a frying pan works loose from the pack and hits the pavement.
Then the slapstick really hits the fan. Bending over to pick up his pan, Baden bumps into Marrue, the half-orc, who shoves him down. Boo ties Baden’s shoelaces together so when he gets up, he trips again. Then Boo reveals himself and bites Baden on the nose. Shortly thereafter, a fight breaks out. And escalates right up to the point where the mage casts a fire spell, right into the leaking lantern oil, with predictably explosive results.
The next morning when the heroes finally wake up, they find the entire gang of bad guys from the previous night neatly tied up and heaped outside their door. The story is a done-in-one, and is paced beautifully. It is a delightful read, and I love that Boo is clever, but solves his problems with skills that, for the most part, are more or less within the realm of normal for a hamster.
THE HAMSTER’S EYE VIEW IS CHARMING
I love the art in Dungeons &Dragons Evil at Baldur’s Gate #5. Boo is cute and fiercely expressive. The two-legged members of his party are all asleep during his adventures and we see them variously sprawled out or curled up. There’s a great panel looking straight down at a couple of them from the wall that Boo is climbing up, and there are a couple other point-of-view shots that are from the hamster point of view. It’s a nice touch.
The scenery is magnificent. There’s a double splash from the rooftop looking out over the harbor which is just lovely and really captures the feel of Baldur’s Gate. The villains are distinctive and amusingly cranky looking. The slapstick scenes that evolve into the fight are great. They set up the jokes brilliantly, and the build-up to the explosion is deftly done.
BOTTOM LINE: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BOO IS WORTH IT FOR THE CHUCKLES
Dungeons &Dragons Evil at Baldur’s Gate #5 is not a book to introduce to a literature class, but it is genuinely a fun read. I know the characters only tangentially. But if you know who Minsc and Boo are, you will have no difficulty following along. And if you don’t, there’s a brief intro at the start. The setting is classic fantasy world, and honestly, for this one, you don’t need to know any more than that.