Review – Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 (IDW Publishing)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Max Dunbar
Colorist: John-Paul Bove
Release Date: 22nd October 2014
Featuring both a headlong dash through “the bustling urban centre”, and some sense-shattering swordplay by the Rashemaar warrior Minsc, this comic arguably doesn’t need to contain a letter from series writer Jim Zub to show just how much the fantasy tabletop role-playing game means to the Canadian author. Indeed, the Animex Honorary Award-winner’s love for Dungeons & Dragons resonates from every panel of this twenty-page periodical, as the moon elf Delina desperately attempts to outwit a pair of stone gargoyles amidst a delightful mixture of deadly danger and laugh out loud humour; “Stand down, dirty minions of evil — Or face my hamster’s wrath!”
Furthermore, the Toronto art professor appears equally as adept at imbuing this book with some intriguing mystery and a genuine sense of peril. Sure, it’s difficult to take “the legendary Ranger” too seriously when the do-gooder momentarily pauses whilst facing the murderous stone constructs simply to allow his positively rotund pet rodent to hiss at them. But beguilingly, just why the “wild mage sorcerer” who resurrected him is being chased by such devilish creatures is never explained, nor just why the fearless magic user is so convinced something terrible has happened to her brother “somewhere here in Baldur’s Gate.”
In addition, this publication’s plot is absolutely crammed full of just the sort of dice-rolling action that millions of players of Gary Gygax’s pioneering co-creation would expect, were they themselves traversing the municipal’s paved streets or visiting its famous late Fifteen-Century market in the upper city. Whether it be the aforementioned attack upon the lead-brained Minsc by a couple of vicious living statues, or his subsequent brush with the quite numerous and flamboyantly-armoured Watch, this comic contains plenty of character-driven shenanigans which could easily be recreated and enjoyed by its readers on their own RPG tabletop afterwards.
Undeniably helping Zub in his endeavour to provide this book’s audience with the same “taste of adventure” which absolutely hooked him is Max Dunbar, whose beautifully clean-lined style genuinely imbues this mini-series’ main cast with plenty of personality. The concept artist appears particularly good at getting across Delina’s inexperience and awkwardness when it comes to her less than successful spell-casting, with the teenager’s wide open eyes and occasional bead of sweat painting a picture of a thousand words.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Simon Moore
Simon Tweets from @Blaxkleric
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag
Love Minsc and Boo. My fave characters from BG 1 and 2