Review – Dungeons & Dragons: Evil at Baldur’s Gate #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Jim Zub
Art: Dean Kotz
Colours: Stefani Rennee
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Release Date: 25th April 2018

Camaraderie, adventure and steel on steel. The stuff of legend! Right Boo?

Following on from their previous adventures in Ravenloft and the northern reaches, our heroes return to Baldur’s Gate to attend to personal tasks before embracing what destiny, or the Gods (or a bit of both?), have in store for them. Jim Zub takes up the writing reins again to focus on individual characters for this new series, and issue #1 centres around a ranger by the name of Minsc.

For those that don’t know, Minsc is a human ranger from the lands of Rashemen; a strange land of spirits and famed for its berserker warriors. A simple but doughty individual, Minsc is always accompanied by the miniature giant space hamster Boo. Yeah, in a setting with giant space hamsters, it’s perfectly plausible that you could have a miniature one as a companion right? First introduced as a highly competent but comedic character in the original Baldur’s Gate game 20 years ago, Minsc has gone on to become something of a fan favourite and this issue will no doubt please that demographic.

While the rest of the adventuring party make personal plans, which will no doubt be covered in upcoming issues, our protagonist here goes out in search of ‘evil’. Not for the chance of riches or glory does Minsc fight, no, in his words, that’s just the, “sugar topping on the cookie crunch of heroism!” In a city like Baldur’s Gate there’s little time wasted in finding a suitable tavern (don’t all great DnD stories start in one?), leading to some liberal exposition during fights and a showdown with the big baddie in a rainy alley.

With no real requirement to have read anything that has come before, this is an easy place to jump on the Baldur’s Gate train; especially if you’re after a bit of light-hearted fantasy sword and sorcery. Aside from the blithe writing, Evil at Baldur’s Gate ticks all the right boxes in the visual department as well. Kotz and Rennee craft and weave the bustling city ports, taverns, and dark alleys, bringing this fantastical locale to life. There are a lot of little details in there for the DnD aficionados too, as well as some neat visual humour. The idea of this hulking hunter stealthily stalking the streets and rooftops whilst sticking out so dramatically in his bright purple cloak is a lovely little touch.

Evil at Baldur’s Gate #1 is a good yarn but it’s realistically not going to appeal to everyone. Those with even a passing interest in the Forgotten Realms should probably read this, and for everyone else? You should see the tankard as half full and give it a go.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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