Nov 7, 2008

Comics - The Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons (Issue 1)


Cover A

Cover B

Dark Mirror (FR); The Legacy (DL)

For this new comic series, Devil's Due Publishing, which have successfully adapted the Drizzt books from The Forgotten Realms setting as well The Chronicles and Legends trilogies from Dragonlance, took that same idea and applied it to an anthology series. Since there are literally hundreds of short stories published for the various D&D worlds (including Ravenloft, Spelljammer, and Dark Sun in addition to FR and DL), they created this book as an outlet to adapt those works into comic form.

For their first issue, they feature two of the most popular characters across all the D&D settings, Drizzt and Raistlin. Cover Art A might lead you to think that this would be some kind of "crossover" story featuring both characters, but a quick scan inside the book clearly shows that the two main characters are in two separate stories.

This issue contains part 1 (of 2) of the FR story "Dark Mirror", which appeared in the anthology "Realms of Valor", and part 1 (of 2) of the DL story "The Legacy", which appeared in the anthology "Second Generation".

Since this a Dragonlance focused blog, I'll skip an in depth review of the FR story, but will say that I liked the art for this story, especially Guenhwyvar, and the ogre leader. The combat sequences had interesting panel angles and layout.

The second half of the issue was devoted to the Dragonlance story "The Legacy". This story focuses on Caramon, Palin (Caramon's son), and Dalamar. Palin has been studying magic this past years and is now almost ready to take his Test.

The wizards of the Order of High Sorcery fear that Raistlin is not dead, but merely waiting to inhabit a new body; Palin's body. Caramon, on the other hand, believes his brother to be dead, based on a vision he believes was granted to him by the god Paladine. Even still he journey's with Palin and Dalamar to the Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthus, to confront and defeat his brother if needed, to protect his son.

Inside the tower, all three stand before Raistlin's laboratory, but the spectre that guards this place will only allow Palin to enter. Upset at his father for never understanding his devotion to magic, Palin goes in alone.

In the laboratory Palin finds all manner of items, including books and scrolls Raistlin left behind. Among this he also finds The Staff of Magius, one of Raistlin's prized possessions, and the Portal to the Abyss.

Just then a hand pulls Palin through the portal. In the abyss, he finds his uncle Raistlin being tortured by Takhisis. When she leaves, Palin frees the black robed mage and leads him back through the portal to Krynn.

As Palin warns his uncle to close the portal before Takhisis enters Krynn, Raistlin laughs with a sinister grin on his face, seemingly willing to leave the portal open.

- end of part one -

Commentary

I really liked this first issue. I thought the writing was very good, with Palin coming across as the young child trying to be seen as a man in his father's eyes, as well as Caramon as the loving, protective father. The art for this story was beautifully done, with great detail inside the Tower at Palanthus, as well as the characterizations for Caramon, Palin, and even minor characters like Justarius and Dunbar. On the other hand, I didn't like the portrayal of Dalamar; he didn't look at all like an elf to me. Also the landscape for the Tower at Palanthus makes it look like the tower is out in the countryside, when it's actually within the city proper. This is a minor quibble, since all the action takes place inside the tower, not in the streets of Palanthus.

It's been a while since I read the original short story, so I'm not sure how closely this follows the original source material, though I think some characters have been dropped and new scenes have been included. Again, this comic is following the basic premise of what I remember.

Overall this is a great first start to this new series, in two weeks, I'll be reviewing the second issue to complete my review of this story. After that I'll return to my ongoing review of the DC Dragonlance comics.