D&D comics history part 8 - War of the Gods ! Avatar (DC)

   Between February and May 1991, along with their D&D licensed ongoing series, DC will issue a standalone mini-series set in the Forgotten Realms :

War of the Gods ! Avatar

   This 3 issues series is the comic version of the three 1989 novels composing The Avatar Trilogy written by Scott Ciencin (Shadowdale, Tantras) & Troy Denning (Waterdeep) under the shared pen-name Richard Awlinson

The Avatar Trilogy - French novels version (Fleuve Noir, 1994)

   It's been adapted here by Barbara Kessel and a bunch of artists worked on these :
   Pencils : Dameon Willich (all issues)
   Inks : Monika Livingston & Tom Romano (issue #1)
            John Nyberg & Todd Hamilton (issues #2 & 3)
            Jerry Acerno, Jan Harpes, Pamela Eklund & Mickey Ritter (issue #3)
   Colors : Eric & Linda Kachelhofer (all issues)
   Letters : Elliot S. Maggin & Kim Yale (only credited in issue #3).

   The events told here depict what will be called the Time of Troubles. The deities of Faerûn are exiled from the Planes after the theft of the Tablets of Fate until these are recovered. Banished by Ao, Overgod of Abeir-Toril, to the mortal world, the gods are now roaming the Realms as avatars. Mystra, goddess of Magic (known as The Lady of Mysteries) will charge Ariel Manx (human wizardess more known as Midnight) to recover the Tablets and protect them from the other deities. The magic-user, now in possession of a mysterious amulet given by the goddess, will soon team up with Kelemvor Lyonsbane (human fighter), Adon (human cleric of Sune) and Cyric (human thief) to fulfill her mission. (Note that these four fellows are often and wrongly considered as being the Company of the Lynx which is in fact the band Midnight was working with and betrayed -for good reasons- before she met her actual companions)

From left to right : Kelemvor, Adon, Cyric and Midnight

   The story will take our heroes in many known places and they'll encounter an amazing number of characters during their quest, including (aside gods... XD) über-famous ones as Elminster or Khelben Blackstaff... It would be too long to list all the references here, but for those interested in these, each novel (so as a result each comic book) has its dedicated AD&D 2nd edition module (in which you'll find among tons of info, the stats of our protagonists...) :

FRE1 Shadowdale, FRE2 Tantras & FRE3 Waterdeep by Ed Greenwood (TSR, 1989)

   Patently this adaptation tends to respect the unfolding of the story as it is told in the novels, only sacrificing some passages by taking narrative shortcuts. In the whole if we can respect the idea behind its construction, the story-telling in the comics is far from being as fluent and understandable as in the novels. Not sure if a reader who's not aware of the universe or the plot would really get it... 

   More on that, the drawing, instead of helping the narration, is some kind of melting pot of -let's say- audacious but badly-rendered and disharmonious artistic choices, which makes the whole a thick soup you have great trouble swallowing... It also sometimes looks like a (basically) colored sketchbook... and the quality is not often there (and even being particularly awful at some point).

 Pages from book one (left), book two (middle) and book three (right)

   Despite the obvious desire to do well and some hard work we can't deny (282 pages in total !), the final rendering is far -very, very far- from being up to the expectation... It's really a shame as the story adapted here depicts one of the best epic moment that forged the history of the Realms... Now, it remains a viable materials source... but kinda a fail that marks the ending of the DC era within the D&D comics history.