Written by John Rogers
Art by Andrea Di Vito
Thank your respective RPG pantheon it’s not the ‘80s cartoon or the 2000 movie.
The book follows the knight Adric Fell and his party of adventurers, named as the Rumrunners in this issue (what a name, right?). Right off the bat, the party and the town of Fallcrest is attacked by zombies, throwing our characters into a mess of legal trouble and evil hijinks.
This book’s strength is its relatable characters. Full of sardonic and snappy remarks to one another, Rogers (no stranger to fun character dialog with a decent career spanning TV’s Leverage and Jackie Chan Adventures as well as co-creating DC’s third Blue Beatle) really nails character interactions that are not just realistic in themselves but really feel like people playing the game.
While, I’m still fairly new to the actual Dungeons & Dragons game, currently playing my first game (a 3.5 Forgotten Realms campaign that’s been going on since August 2009), I instantly recognized the comic distrust and the one-ups-manship of the characters as those in my game. Friends I’ve let read my copy – friends who’ve been playing D&D throughout the years and various editions – had the same reactions, citing characters in the book acting just like their own and pointing out the same spells they used as well.
That’s not to say you have to have played D&D to get into the story. It’s a simple fantasy tale with funny and entertaining characters that most readers could enjoy. The overall story is pretty shallow thus far, simply starting a mystery for the characters to explore. But as with most tabletop RPGs or other character pieces, the story isn’t as important as what the characters do with it.
Di Vito does a good job carrying over the characters into the art work. The designs are pretty simple and revealing about the characters, with their personalities and classes shine through (although I couldn’t really tell the Dwarf was a paladin at first glance).
The work itself is clean, with no glaring errors, stray marks or scaling issues. The latter is especially true considering what I would consider the difficult task of maintaining the scales of the Halfling and the Dwarf with the taller humanoid creatures. The coloring is bright and vivid, also maintaining the lighthearted feel of the characters.
It’s a fun book with a good amount of character humor. Anyone who has played a tabletop game with their friends will resonate with this title. Anyone else would still enjoy the characters and might want to try a game, which brings me to one of the neat novelties of the book. IDW and Wizards of the Coast actually include a 4 Edition D&D character sheet of Adric Fell in the back of the book, with permission to photocopy and play for home game use. It’s a cool way either for newbies to start out with an already-built character or for DMs (dungeon masters) to have another NPC (non-player character) at hand.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10