Dungeon Masters

Dungeons & Dragons #1

I had no expectation that I was going to get this title ’til I found out that John Rogers — better known as the guy responsible for some of the best “Blue Beetle” stories — was the writer. I’m more than willing to take a few chances on him.

Our main characters are a party of adventurers — Adric Fell, a human warrior and the leader of the group; Kahl, a dwarf paladin; Varis, an elf sharpshooter; Bree, a magnificently untrustworthy halfling thief; and Tisha, a tiefling spellcaster. They live in a small town called Fallcrest at the edge of the wilderness. Things start off — of course! — at the local tavern, where the group is soon under attack by a bunch of rampaging zombies. Only they’re not zombies, they are humans under some sort of spell — a spell that inconveniently wears off just in time for the local watch to arrest them all for murder. A gnome wizard named Copernicus Jinx soon shows up to assist them, revealing that someone has opened a magical portal which is infecting the countryside with dark energies that make everyone act like zombies. And right on cue, almost everyone in town except for our heroes get infected and start lurching after the good guys. Can the party locate the source of the problem? Can they save any innocent people along the way?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This may be the first non-game adaptation of “Dungeons & Dragons” to not suck. There’s a grand and glorious amount of good humor on display, as well as excellent action, characterization, and dialogue. Reading this made me want to play D&D again — and I haven’t been tempted to do that in decades.

Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #1

Man, I haven’t been able to get any of these in ages — Robo is a really fun character, but he’s not carried by nearly enough comic shops. Luckily, I was able to get in at the beginning of a new storyarc for this one.

It’s 1930, and Atomic Robo is still in his relative infancy — he’s still working as a drudge for his creator Nikola Tesla, stuck doing boring chores instead of reading pulp magazines and having adventures, like he’d really prefer. Luckily, he runs into a masked crimefighter named Jack Tarot battling some gangsters and proceeds to make a nuisance of himself by asking Tarot and the gangsters as many irritating questions as he can. Can Robo get in good with the crimefighting set? And where will this adventure all lead to?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This isn’t the cynical Robo we may have gotten used to — he’s a more innocent and enthusiastic character here. Excellent humor, great action, very fun dialogue.

Knight and Squire #2

Our two Brit heroes get wind of a looming occult plot about to be enacted, so they rush in their civilian disguises to a small town and visit an unusually paranoid pub called The Wicker Man — only to discover that the whole town has been taken over by… the Morris Men! (Apparently, it’s a criminal gang that dresses up like Morris dancers — and I’ll have to ask you to read the Wikipedia article about that, ’cause it’s about folk dancing, and there ain’t no way I’m gonna try to explain folk dancing) When it all turns out to be a plot to force Britain back to a distant past, will the heroes manage to foil the Morris Men before the dance is over?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s daft in all the best ways. Excellent action, superb dialogue. I think I most enjoyed seeing how Beryl spends her not-fighting-crime days. Don’t miss writer Paul Cornell’s postscript — it explains a lot of the Britishisms in the story, but it looks a bit like an ad, so you may need to keep an eye out for it.

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  1. moJoe Said,

    November 15, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

    Don’t do it Poop!

    4th edition is of the devil!

  2. scottslemmons Said,

    November 15, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

    Well, I’d have to buy the books, and while I’m pretty free with my money when it comes to books, I’ve been trying to convince myself to slow down, just so I don’t run out of bookshelf space… 🙂

  3. WizarDru Said,

    November 18, 2010 @ 7:20 am

    John Rogers has actually written D&D books, so it’s no surprise that such a talented writer could produce the first great D&D comic in a long time.

    But I will disagree that this is the FIRST adaption to not suck. The Forgotten Realms comic from 1989-91, written by Jeff Grubb and drawn by Rags Morales…that was good, too.