Review – Dungeons and Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 (IDW Publishing)

D&D_BaldursGate01-cover - CopyPublisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Max Dunbar, John-Paul Bove
Release Date: 22nd October 2014


For the old and crabbit gamers amongst us, the Baldur’s Gate series will be a fond memory – one of the greatest RPGs ever made, it was a vast, richly detailed behemoth of a game that treated you like the free-thinking human that you were, chock full of great stories both small and large, and even more notably, crammed to bursting with memorable characters and dialogue. Which is something of an achievement, given that the vast majority of it was conveyed through dialogue boxes with only a small portion of it actually recorded. Perfect fodder for comic adaptation, wouldn’t you say?

Dunbar’s art is the highlight of the piece, and is really rather good – getting fighting to look fun and dynamic is always a challenge, and he overcomes it rather easily, even in the black-and-white pencils that are visible in the post-script pages of the book. Bove’s colour work is also excellent, particularly when new character Delina is flinging about her spells. Colour spray, away!

Zub’s writing is a two-handed affair. On the one, he nails the dialogue aspect of the matter – Minsc feels and sounds like one would expect Minsc to, and he bounces off Delina rather cutely. The actual execution of the story is fun and well-paced too – but here’s where we get to the other hand: on a fundamental plot level, this feels a little bit forced, built solely around the return of Minsc, rather than it being a critical element of another over-arching plot. It’s perhaps a harsh judgement to beat down on a comic in issue 1, and I may well be eating my hat (and pets) for this come the next couple. Another minor disappointment – though this one would be deeply nerdy – is that it’s unclear whether or not the story is taking place in the Forgotten Realms at large, or in some kind of crazy pocket universe where only Baldur’s Gate exist. We’ll see going forward I guess.

But this does mean that this issue is not quite the rip-roaring adventure that you might hope for. There’re some fun moments, and it does look like it’s setting up some interesting stuff for future issues – but on its own, it feels a little sparse. It is, however, buoyed from going completely under by a fantastic characterisation of terrifically memorable character, so fans of the game will at least get a pleasant kick out of that. And if you’re a D’n’D nerd, new school or old, there’s a lot of smile inducing stuff to find here. For everyone else, maybe wait until there’s more of it before diving in.

Rating: 3/5.

RSavThe Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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