REVIEW: Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1

Generally, I don’t dive into comics that are rooted in a property that I am not already a fan. For instance, I pick up new Star Wars titles, but avoid Star Trek since I have very little context for the latter. However, Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 provides a seamless entry point for casual readers while referencing the Dungeons and Dragons mythos for the gaming community. The elven magic and gargoyles add a fantasy adventure element without promoting D&D itself; I could’ve read this unawares had the title not announced the source material, which took a lot of the pressure off. Instead of reading this as an extension of an already jam-packed universe, I could appreciate it as an entity of itself that delivers action, suspense, and humor in a well-balanced package.

The story begins with a couple of gargoyles chasing Delina the moon elf through a city, hell-bent on ripping her to shreds. She finds her way through Baldur’s Gate and into the marketplace where she comes across a large statue of a great warrior. In desperation to escape he aggressors, Delina casts an unpredictable spell hoping to turn the tide in her favor. This results in the statue transforming into the warrior himself! Although effective with his blade, his memories are of times past, causing confusion for both parties involved. They band together to escape the city whose guards believe the elf responsible for the gargoyle barbarism, to be continued in the next issue.
The story raises several questions for me, though some seem irrelevant while others I’m sure are addressed in subsequent issues. Why is the elf being pursued? Can she be trusted? And why does Minsc the warrior have a pet hamster? The rodent must’ve been terribly important to have been included in a memorial statue…

The writing of Legends of Baldur’s Gate is easy to follow and is suitable for all ages, with tidbits of humor revolving Minsc and Boo the hamster. Jim Zub is a huge D&D fan with a knack for kids books, so this title is perfect for him. I currently read his work in both Figment titles for Marvel’s Disney Kingdom series, so I knew coming in that the story would be impressive. Max Dunbar’s artwork is very good for a fantasy title, with a cartoony feel and wonderful scenery. I hate comparing artists, but part of the draw of this book for me was that the art is akin to that of Todd Nauck, with whom I’ve recently become a huge fan. This is my first book featuring Dunbar and won’t be the last. The coloring, particularly during the action scenes and with magical spells, is vibrant and bold.

Now, I know this is a dollar reprint of a comic that has been out a while, so if you want to add this to your pull list, no dice. Get it? Sorry, bad humor is bad. Shame on me. On the bright side, this is probably the best time to pick it up if you want to try something new for a bargain. The trade paperback is already available, so if you like it, go buy the trade and explore the D&D universe or FACE MY HAMSTER’S WRATH!”

Great, Four out of Five Stars

By: Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, John-Paul Bove, Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW

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