IDW Publishing 2016
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Nelson Daniel
Lettered by Neil Uyetake
The heroes of Baldur’s Gate are hired to defend a temple dedicated to Kelemvor, God of Death, and are joined by a fervent follower of the church named Nerys. It doesn’t take long for them to see why they’re needed – They’re soon attacked by werewolves and skeletons sent to retrieve a relic held by the church. That relic, a small locket, comes from the Realm of Terror known as Ravenloft, and its master has pulled our heroes into its clutches. Taken from the Realms and looking for a way to get home, our heroes are drawn deeper into the darkness.
I love the way Jim is telling this story. He’s drawing it out at a pace that allows for the characterization to demonstrate change in how we see the characters. While also giving us the view of the people who live here and those that under the Master’s thrall. The spark of hope is dim in this world of Ravenloft and when you see it you understand how rare it is and how dismal this place is by contrast.
So by giving the group time to become infested by this world and it’s inherent darkness he’s able to really do some interesting work with them. Also it’s interesting to see the races and classes and who’s more susceptible to the influence faster. For example I love Minsc and Boo they are hopelessly upbeat, positive and in many as simple as one can be without being considered disabled and his relationship with their cleric whose own darkness and belief against this world could play vital roles in how the group goes forward.
As the story goes to the Wolves who inadvertently brought them here we see how Sangin’s story weaves in with theirs now. It’s really great to see how the Master’s power and influence in this world works throughout this segment. This nicely leads into what happens within the group and the implications are interesting to see.
Nelson and Neil’s interiors are fantastic. I really enjoy the way they bring the ominous darkness of this realm to life. I like the way the story flows through the pages and panels with the use of angles and perspective.
This may be a Dungeons & Dragons story but it’s easy to see how this would work if it were a group from any superhero comic as well. I could see the New Teen Titans in this scenario and having it work just the same and it’s this kind of storytelling that transcends the genre. It’s great solid storytelling that is meant to thrill and chill and put the characters to the ultimate test of their character.
I’m looking forward to seeing the fundamental changes in these characters as the struggle to stay alive and fight to find a way home in this highly intelligent and fascinating study in character.