In High Dungeon

Dungeons & Dragons #7

We’re still in flashback mode, discovering how Adric Fell and his band of adventurers originally got together. Hired on to guard some wizards traveling to a magically lost city, their band is ambushed by a bunch of elves and eladrin. When the head eladrin (for those not up on their D&D knowledge, eladrin are basically elf nobles, while regular elves are, well, just regular elves) reveals that he’s willing to kill other elves and eladrin to protect the city’s magic, Varis turns on him. But there’s another ambush in the making, as they are all attacked by the Drow (again, for the D&D avoiders, those are dark elves). A small group of adventurers survives, but they won’t last long with all the Drow trying to bust into the small room they’re holed up in. Do they have a chance to escape certain doom?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely tense storyline, lots of claustrophobic, tense scenes, outstanding dialogue, and a picture-perfect Desperate Last Stand.

How to improve this series: Well, I enjoyed this flashback storyarc, but I’m fairly glad it’s over now, ’cause I really want to see more stuff with my two favorite characters, Bree the greedy sociopath halfling and Tisha the brooding but dishy tiefling.

Detective Comics #877

Batman escapes from a deathtrap set by Bixby Rhodes, a gunrunner/car dealer, and snags the crook even though he tries to escape on high-tech titanium super-legs. Dick learns from Sonia Branch, non-criminal daughter of the gangster who killed his parents, that her bank has had to deal with criminals wanting to launder money for years, but while the Mob usually respected her wishes not to cater to criminals (after all, they had plenty of other banks to turn to for dirty dealings), other crooks, including Rhodes and a smuggler named Tiger Shark, have refused to take no for an answer. Dick tracks Tiger Shark to his secret underwater lair, but what sort of dangers are lurking in the depths?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very, very nice mystery storytelling. Love the dialogue and characterization by Scott Snyder. (There’s a great bit at the beginning where Dick Grayson talks about what he likes to do after dealing with human criminals all night — he loves nature documentaries, just because they don’t have any humans in them. That’s a great piece of character work.) And I love Jock’s artwork, too. Really, I’m loving the whole series.

How to improve this series: For starters, don’t get rid of Scott Snyder. The guy really is very good with mysteries. Other than that, I can’t think of a lot that would need to be fixed — this is one of DC’s best series.

Xombi #3

The Maranatha is a giant fiery monster of pure anger and hatred, and it’s whuppin’ the tar out of David Kim. Nun of the Above, Catholic Girl, and Rabbi Sinnowitz try to help out, but things look pretty grim once the monster bites David in half — and he doesn’t start regenerating. Well, not for a while. Eventually, he does recover, all while a ghost has this great monologue about what it’s like to be dead and to miss being alive. Will they be able to destroy the Maranatha? Will David be able to maintain his connections to the normal people while living forever? And where’s the mastermind behind this whole thing?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I had my doubts for a while, ’cause it was a lot of hitting and biting for a while, but once the ghost starts that great monologue while David slowly stitches himself back together, it’s pure magic clear to the end.

How to improve this series: Hey, I know you gotta have some hitting in superhero comics, but why don’t we let John Rozum spend more time writing awesome dialogue and characters, okay? That’s a ton of fun.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • All anyone is talking about today is DC’s decision to reboot all their comics and republish everything from #1. I think this sounds like an utter disaster, and a great opportunity for me to read a lot fewer DC comic books — but let’s watch as Siskoid and MightyGodKing break it all down for us.

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