I remember reading the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) comic books when I was a fresh faced, 1st level rube outta secondary school.
Every week, I’d wait at the comic shop for the next issue of Tempest Gate, and marvel at the fantastic adventures and mythical monsters the heroes faced in their quests to vanquish well, stuff.
Almost a full decade later, with D&D in it’s 4th incarnation, Wizards of the Coast revisits sequential storytelling with an original multi-part story charting the adventures of Fell’s Five, a merry band of mercenaries making their way in D&D’s latest canonical fantasy world.
It’s a tale full of action, adventure and intrigue, and of course, who can forget the dungeons and the dragons?
Published in conjunction with IDW, Shadowplague boasts an impressive level of writing and artwork.
John Rogers, no stranger to Dungeons & Dragons (and comic book writing in general) demonstrates not only a keen understanding of the tropes and conventions inherent to the genre, but actually plays it up to good effect.
Everyone’s familiar with the greedy halfling rogue, the banter between stuffy dwarves and pommy elves, the predilection of tieflings (the new stripe of half-demon) towards angst, and the main character, well, he’s always got to be someone with a dark and sometimes tragic past, right? (but more of that later).
The dialogue’s pretty smart, and if you actually play the game, well, includes plenty of Easter eggs and game references.
In one scene, for example, you’ll be screaming about natural 20s, and in another, you’ll be wondering about critical failures on Insight checks. Lots of hot monster favorites show up too, so keep your eyes open.
As a whole, the story is tightly woven, and if you’re a D&D player, you’ll sense the currents of a campaign beneath the narrative.
What’s more, everything is brought to colorful life by the art of Andrea Di Vito, who worked on Crossgen’s The First and Scion (both titles with very clear fantasy leanings), as well as issues of Annihilation and World War Hulk.
The result is an exceptional work. On it’s own it’s strong fantasy fare with a great plot, plenty of droolworthy covers and detailed panels for fantasy art lovers to salivate over. But if you’re a D&D geek, it just gets better.
This hardcover compilation comes with bonus content in the way of pre-written encounters and modules based off the characters’ adventures in the story.
What’s more, they’re the D&D equivalent of plug-and-play compliant. That is, you can insert them into your tabletop game with minimal fuss. How cool is that?
Check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.