Review – Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #4 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Max Dunbar
Colorist: John-Paul Bove
Release Date: 14th January 2015

Despite actually promoting issue four of Dungeons & Dragons: Legends Of Baldur’s Gate as containing “less talk, more fight!”, Jim Zub’s narrative for this twenty-page periodical regrettably doesn’t really get going until the comic is almost halfway over. Sure, Zub manages to whip up a modicum of mystic mischief at the very start of the publication by taking its audience back to when an adolescent Delina first realised her rare aptitude for magic “without any training”. But this glimpse into the young Moon Elf’s backstory is fleeting, and arguably is included more to show the angry resentment stored up within her jealous brother than to provide any injection of dynamic action.

Instead, this book’s audience must first negotiate a series of conversational pieces between “The Fist of Truth” and “Ugly Walrus Face”, as well as the evidently evil Deniak’s unsurprising betrayal of his naïve sister. These dialogue-driven scenes are somewhat necessary to explain how Minsc, Krydle and Shandie can quickly navigate the legendary city in the hope of thwarting the cultists’ dark ritual. However, it’s not until some thirty-six text-laden panels later that any bibliophile will actually see Boo explode onto the scene atop his ranger’s formidably sized shoulder; “My hamster speaks truth, ugly ones! Surrender or face huge justice!”

Enjoyably though, once Zub’s penmanship does finally get things going, it’s easy to imagine most of this publication’s 4,602 strong circulation thoroughly enjoying its jaw-cracking concoction of powerful pummels to the face, well-aimed arrows and deadly attacks by a certain miniature giant space rodent. Furthermore, the pace of the already frenzied action is ramped up every so often by the clever inclusion of Deniak feverishly working his dark magic upon his immobile, sacrificial sibling to become imbued with all the dread power of a dragon.

Ably aiding any reader through this comic’s sedentary start, and then gleefully hurling them face-first into the sheer carnage of Minsc bludgeoning a basement full of Bugbears, is Max Dunbar, whose artwork does a tremendous job in depicting the emotions of this mini-series’ considerably sized cast. Indeed, besides the sheer ferocity on show during this book’s climatic fight sequence, one of its highlights is just how well the concept artist manages to etch the venomous envy upon Deniak’s face and the genuine concern upon Delina’s for her beloved brother’s wellbeing despite everything he has done against her.

The writer of this piece was: Simon Moore
Simon Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

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