Nov 23, 2008

Comics - The Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons (Issue 2)


Cover A

Cover B

Dark Mirror (FR); The Legacy (DL)

The second issue of this comic finishes up both stories stared in issue #1.

Once again, I won't go into too much detail on the Forgotten Realms story, other than to say that I liked this more than part one. There was more action and twists here, while the first part just seemed to be a straight chase. I didn't like the art for Nojheim (the goblin); he looked too much like Dobby from the Harry Potter books and movies.

For the Dragonlance story, this issue picks up with Raistlin and Palin alone in the archmage's laboratory, while the portal to the abyss is still open, awaiting the arrival of Takhisis.

In the laboratory, Raistlin tries manipulating his nephew to embrace the quest for magic power above all else, as Raistlin had done years before. On the other hand, Palin tries to convince his uncle to close the portal and come back to Solace with Caramon and himself.

Raistlin reveals that he will keep the portal open and that he now plans to serve as the mortal ruler of Krynn once Takhisis conquers the realms. The archmage also reveals plans for having Palin serve along side and even training Palin's brothers to serve Takhisis as generals in her army.

Realizing the true nature of his uncle, Palin struggles to close the portal himself, also sending Raistlin back to the abyss in the process.

Afterward, it is revealed that Palin had never actually been in Raistlin's laboratory or the abyss; the whole thing was an elaborate illusion, and served as Palin's Test of High Sorcery. Dalamar reveals that the ruse of Raislin's return was created to trick Caramon into bringing Palin to one of the towers.

As Caramon and Palin leave the tower, the spectral guardian in front of Raistlin's laboratory offers Palin a gift. Claiming it's from Raistlin, the guardian offers the new white robe mage one of his uncle's most prized possessions, the Staff of Magius.

Commentary

I really like the art for this issue. The panels really had some great angles and a lot of attention to detail, and really helped enliven what is essentially two characters talking. Also, the expressions on Raistlin's face really help show what's going on in the archmage's mind.

Overall I thought this was a good adaptation of the story. For Dragonlance fans, this was an important tale when it first came out. It was the first time the setting jumped forward in time to the "next generation" and laid to rest fan speculation that Raistlin was not really dead. Also for fans of the Dragonlance D&D rules, this shows a lot of the little challenges that an apprentice mage goes through during a Test of High Sorcery, including the ethical dilemma's that help determine what color robe the mage will afterward.

But as a story, I don't think this was the best one to start off with for Dragonlance. Overall, not a lot really happens. While there are a couple of twists at the end, I found that only somewhat satisfying. I can certainly think of better Dragonlance short stories, and even a few involving Raistlin, that I would like to see adapted before this one.

On the other hand, this story and art are infinitely better than any of the DC/TSR comics I've reviewed so far. All said, I think this anthology book is off to a great start, and I look forward to other stories from other D&D worlds in future issues.

Next time, I'll return to my reviews of the DC/TSR comics, continuing with issue #13.

(P.S. Sorry for the off schedule posting, due to some real life events, I lost track of my own schedule!)