IDW Publishing 2019
Written by B. Dave Walters
Illustrated by Tess Fowler
Coloured by Jay Fotos
Lettered by Tom B. Long
When war threatens the Moonshae Isles, legendary heroes return to defeat the forces of an unthinkable foe. The Forgotten Realms are changed forever as young wizard Helene and her friends grow from raw recruits on the streets of Mintarn into powerful warriors.
Present Day at Alaron, Moonshae Isles is where we open up this story. It is under attack seemingly by a number of forces or just one large one I am not sure which at this juncture but I will say it is definitely interesting to see so many races assembled on the first page along. What this does, at least for myself, is opens up that so long as a version of Dungeons & Dragons exists all the different races and variations therein are fair game. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing a Warforged from Eberron as well. It also excites me by the possibilities that this presents as any number of combinations are or can be in play.
Once the opening sequence concludes we go back in time, oh my I just started in on Huey Lewis and the News, where we get to meet a young Helene. I think that the universal, or interdimensional, fact that parents have plans for their children that don’t include asking what they want is something so many can relate to. Whether it’s the bar or bat mitzvah (my day but my mother’s affair sigh), a coming out party or really anything you can think of, including weddings. So to see Helene escape and go off to explore her own fate well that’s a great thing to see, with the help of course of her grandfather and her two best friends.
Dave does some really nice things with the way that this is structured. From the opening which garners some intense interest factors to the past and the way the characters are introduced all of these things create a very nice, natural ebb & flow. Then there is this whole thing where the kids while off on their grand adventure meet new friends, trouble finds them and the original idea scrapped for something new and suddenly it is very much feeling like more than a coming of age story but one that also includes love, loss, betrayal you know all the biggies! If this first issue is the example for what’s to come I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter already.
Tess does an absolutely stunning job on the interiors here. Her linework is supple, varied and brings us this crazy amount of attention to detail. I love how all of this works together and of course Jay’s colour work is as usual pretty freakin amazing and I don’t think I have ever seen work from him that isn’t on point. With all that we see here, which by the way should feel cluttered and overwhelming is far from it, getting it right and keeping the colours for the characters moving forward is some damn good stuff. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off Tess’ eye for storytelling beautifully. That we see backgrounds utilised in such ways that not only complete the moments they are but also bring this fantastic sense of size and scope it extremely well done.
I’m a huge Dungeons & Dragons guy, I played when it came out and periodically ever since, when I can find a game to join I will jump at the change, and from made for television films (Mazes and Monsters), cartoon’s (the classic series as well as animated features) and even big budget motion pictures so to see what I do here is a fine addition to the tradition. There is that sense of hope when starting a new campaign and then the jaded lives left later on and the fun part of seeing what happens in between. I will say this really is brilliantly done.