Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Max Dunbar
“You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scrum and villainy”
True, the above refers to a place far far away, but the same could be said of Baldur’s Gate. Here we find Delina, or Neera depending on who you speak to, on the run from stone gargoyles whilst on a quest (there is always a quest), to find her brother and save him from the “cold darkness”.
All pretty standard stuff so far. And is stays that way until, using her wild magic, Delina animates the statue of the beloved hunter Minsc and his companion, the miniature giant space hamster Boo. Along the way the trio meet up with a couple of thieves and soon the quintet are off to rescue said brother, with a mixture of allies and barriers in their way.
Minsc and Boo are quite simply the stars of the show. Whether it’s Minsc’s love of the verbose speach, butt-kickery for example or Boo’s love of eyes; the fact that the pair are unaware of both their previous life as a statue and the inhabitants of the Gate reaction to them. They are true heroes. Along for ride, are Krydle, not Cry Dull say it faster, and Shandie, the latter coming across as a Damian Wayne type although a little less obnoxious. In the middle of this is Delina who just wants her brother safe.
Jim Zub is the scribe for this merry adventure an I have to say, what a merry adventure it is. Sure, there are familiar elements, you can’t really have dungeons and dragons without at least a dungeon or a dragon. But the humour throughout the book makes the story a pleasure to read. I laughed throughout and even understood the logic of a miniature giant space hamster.
The art by Max Dunbar is as fun as the script. Clean lines add to the consistency of the look as does the panel layouts which help drive the story forward, whilst also allowing for the whimsy aspects such as the flash back scenes. Dunbar does seem to have a Greg Capullo influence especially where Minsc is concerned. That isn’t such a bad thing, as it fits within the overall look of the book. Colours come from a couple of source’s, John-Paul Bove and Joana Lafuente. I am not sure who does what, but the partnership doesn’t distract the eye, despite going from detailed backgrounds to a full colour style devoid of details. I can’t leave the review without mentioning the fantastic covers by Sarah Stone which are vibrant adding a certain style to proceedings.
If, like me, you are a tad jaded by the same type of hack and slash sword and sorcery type of book, pick this up. It’s full of humour and has a sense of soul missing in so many other books that can be found in this popular sub genre.