D&D comics history part 15 - Tempest's Gate (K&C)

   As In the Shadow of Dragons was well ongoing, Kenzer & Company launched in december 2001 a second Greyhawk comics series entitled :

Tempest's Gate

   This time each issue is called a "book"... well...
Book One : Born of Fire (Dec. '01)
Book Two : Forged in Tears (Jan. '02)
Book Three : Tempered in Fellowship (Feb. '02)
Book Four : Sheathed in Justice (Mar. '02)

   Story has been written by Sean Smith, and as expected, a bunch of different artists worked on this series as well (Basically a team for the first 2 issues and another one for the last 2) :
Mike (Michael) Lilly : Penciller of books 1 & 2, Cover artist of all books
Travis Walton : Inker of books 1 & 2, Cover colorist/inker of all books
Rich Kelly : Inker of book 1
Bob Wiacek : Inker of book 1
Bill (Alfred O.) Williams : Inker of book 1
Mickey Clausen : Colorist of books 1 & 2, Letterer of book 1
Tony Duncan : Letterer of book 2
Rodrigo Pereira : Penciller/ Inker of books 3 & 4
Nelson (Pereira) Mendonça : Inker of books 3 & 4
Salvatore Aiala : Colorist of books 3 & 4
Ricardo Riamonte : Colorist of books 3 & 4
Marcos Schmidt : Letterer of books 3 & 4

 Book Two - Double page (art by M.Lilly)
Book Three - Double page (art by R.Pereira)

   When we have really fine art in every issue, Mike Lilly & Rodrigo Pereira doing great here, I was kinda shocked by the lack of visual coherence (not talking about the styles here) between the end of Book Two and the beginning of Book Three, especially considering we're in the very same scene (cf pict below... for the more obvious discrepancies). This being said, the comic in its whole is very entertaining. We have here far less chitchat and more action than in their previous mini-series. Tho, imo, they could have done a 5 issues story as some scene are kinda shorten and could have easily been more developed (especially at the end where it's a bit (to say the least...) sloppy in a rush to conclude).

And for the quick-change performance, Ladies & Gentlemen...we're welcoming... Aidus !!

   Note here that the assassin in charge of murdering our hero is the famous Zarak from the LJN toys line (who, as Warduke did, travelled from Mystara to Greyhawk a few ago...). FYI, he also appears in The Treasure of Time storybook I reviewed years ago.

Zarak - 1983 LJN basic figure (left - picture from my own collection) & stats from D&D modules (right)

   This time the plot takes place in the area of Bissel, near the frontier with Ket, in some outpost called Tempest's Gate (cf map below). The outpost being attacked by Oghs (some local variety of orcs... cf pict below) lead by Flame, a powerful Fire Sorceress taking orders from the evil necromancer Evard (cf info sheet below), the young lieutenant Aidus soon get the charge of the defense as his captain passes away. Helped by the arrival of the hill-man barbarian Urik and his tribe they manage to repel the attackers. Soon joined by the dwarf Hakignm Strongarm, whose people of Kharak Dhul's mining colony have been decimated by the same fiends a few ago, and helped by the imperial advisor and great Ice Wizard Zed-Kraken and some other allies, the gathered party is sent to track the evil menace. Some will have to look back in their past to overcome present's troubles. As said earlier, if some parts could have been expanded, we have here a story rich of elements as the many kinds of monsters/species as well as a great bunch of interesting characters.

World of Oerth, March of Bissel and probable location of Tempest's Gate (red dot)

Evard info, bio and stats (Dungeon Magazine #107)

   Also note that we are granted with some RPG materials in each issue (tho only a tiny list of Greyhawk references in Book Two) as stats of Aidus (B.3) and his beloved Vail (B.4) as well as the description of Oghs (B.1).

Characters and monster stats

   It's a nice piece Kenzer & Co offered us here even if it lacks some rigor here and there... we have some plots without any clue on the whys and wherefores and some villains mentioned without any appearance... wondering here if it wasn't meant to be a longer series at first that ended shorter for some reason... Still, a fun reading anyway.


No comments:

Post a Comment