Showing posts with label 2010. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2010. Show all posts


D&D comics history part 28 - Dark Sun : Ianto's Tomb (IDW)

   As IDW took over the D&D license in 2010, they released a promotional #0 issue including both premieres/pilots of their main ongoing series (that will be known later as Fell's five) and what will be a 6 issues story set in the Dark Sun universe entitled :

Ianto's Tomb

HC cover

   Despite what is written on the back cover of the final HC version, it is not the first time ever that a comic story takes place in the Dark Sun setting as one was released in the DDP's The Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons in 2008. But indeed, it s the first time a whole comic series is dedicated to Athas.

   The story is written by Alex Irvine, art by Peter Bergting, colors by Ronda Pattison and letters by Neil Uyetake.

   We're following a mul (gladiator) named Grudvik escaping his slave fate and well decided to get answers from his treacherous beloved, Rubi, a lady of the Trade House Ianto. He'll be soon joined by Aki, a slave psionic hunter, and these two will be thrown in some political, mystical and treasure-hunting quest. While a good part of the adventure is set in the desertic area, the main plot is set in the great city of Tyr and Under Tyr (city was raised on pillars over a swamp, once a sacred wood). This underground city is full of scavengers, escaped slaves, and other individuals willing to stay in shadows as well as undeads and other creatures living among the ancient crypts.

Giant tentacles in the desert, 4-arms villains in catacombs... danger is everywhere on Athas !

   The art is pretty decent and we have a nice insight of the Athas world and its creatures as well as the use of psionic powers. The story is rich of details concerning the world and its history and in the whole, the plot is cleverly set up. When we would have awaited more adventures of Grudvik and Aki, time told it will remain a one-shot series. That s kinda sad as many plot's points remain vague and left reader's curiosity unsatisfied.

   The series will be compiled in tpb and in hard-cover.
Each single issue will have different cover versions as IDW did for Fell's Five series (Tho "only" 2 to 4 this time...), all including monster's stats or character's sheet as bonuses when #1 will have its module edition with a playable adventure for 2 to 3 12th level characters.

Aki's chara-sheet (issue #4)

#1 Module Edition issue cover and adventure page

    Note that the RIA cover version of the second issue is a 16-pages only Dark Sun Art Gallery with no direct link to the story but fine art.

#2 CVR RIA - Art Gallery issue

   And for the froggies... a french tpb version of the comic was pusblished in 2011 by Milady under the title : Le Tombeau de Ianto (translated by Philippe Tullier, lettering by C├ędric Liano)

Milady's french TPB

   Once again, IDW did a great job with this release, clearly offering their readers nice and fresh stories with a dose of humor that was lacking in most of DDP's issues. A nice and promising era for the D&D comics line ! O_oV


D&D comics history part 27 - Dungeons & Dragons : Fell's Five (IDW)

And here came a neeeeew challeeeengeeeer ! XD

   After the financial crash of DDP, in 2010, IDW comics is given the right to issue D&D licensed materials. Their first publication is "number 0" comic that introduce both upcoming series, one ongoing based on D&D world and a Dark Sun-based 5-issues limited one.

The ongoing series will count a total of 16 issues (#0-15) and will be named :

Dungeons & Dragons - Fell's Five

Omnibus cover

 HC covers

   There's lots to say about this series.
First of all, it's obvious that IDW has a great experience in sale management. With this issue #0, they produced an introduction to a serie, kinda like a trailer, putting in place their pre-order business, but also they developped it as a product to create exclusive collectionable items. The fact is, like other comics publisher, they offered mutiple-covers issues. With this #0, to my knowledge, we're up to a total of 7 variants ! o_O

From left to right: Cover A, B, RI (Retailer Incentive), RE (Retailer Exclusive - Hastings),
Con Exclusive (GEN CON), Con Exclusive (PAX 2010), Con Exclusive (Convention 2010 Edition)
   After this promotional move, if we could have expected only A & B covers for issue#1, at contrary, IDW will continue and improve their concept by adding to rarity variants, RPG materials issues... o_O

From left to right : Cover A, B, RE (Hastings), RE (Larry's Limited Edition), SP-1 (Module Edition) 

   The upcoming republication by IDW of late eighties DC's AD&D series, in which we could read a few pages here and there dedicated to RPG, may be an explanation to the origins of this concept. It's obvious that IDW was showing a real determination to provide its readers a new but also old-school experience.

   When all variants of issue #1 contain the character sheet of the main hero, only the module edition is enriched with 6 pages of the role-playing adventure based on the story told in the issue.

Only 3 issues of the series have their module edition :
SP-1 Bad Day, SP-2 Hide in Plain Sight & SP-11 It goes Horribly Right
We could have expected more, in terms of module-issues but also in contents. These playing adventures include descriptions text with some basic area maps and monsters/characters stats... which is mainly raw materials dedicated to dungeon masters. But well, better that than nothing heh ! :)

   In addition to these variants, a single issue containing the covers done by Wayne Reynolds will be edited.

   The whole serie will be compiled in HC then in TPB (3 volumes each) and finally in a 49$ HC omnibus of 424 pages containing all the issues as well as extra (RPG parts) found in module editions but also an art gallery with all the variant covers.

   The first TPB has been published in France, in august 2011, by Milady under the name : 1. Le Fleau des Ombres. The rest will never be edited, sadly.

   Considering the story and the art, I have just to say that it's been a delightful surprise. First of all, we're not into some (re)adaptation of a D&D best selling novel... and if DDP did some great stuff there, it was time to get some new stuff to read. IDW successed here, and that has to be said.

   The main artist is Andrea Di Vito and his work is just of really good quality. His characters are well-drawn, having understandable and credible expressions. The movements as well as the choice of the shots and the pages construction are totally fitting the needs of the action.

   For the story, we have writer John Rogers in charge. It's been ages since I've last laughed reading a D&D inspired comic... and his story as well as his characters just made it. We're following the adventures of a bunch of sympathic (but somehow powerful) losers... an amusing (almost) antiheroes band. I am pretty fond of Bree, the rogue... who's just the perfect definition of a lovely lil smart & sarcastic bastard. <3

   Well, in conclusion, I'd say that, with this series,  IDW did manage to successfully renew the D&D comics line. When DDP was more into "serious" fantasy, the most often illustrating stories from the official D&D novels (which are for the most written in classic fantasy style), IDW regenerated the funny D&D universe. (once more the parallel with the DC series is really tempting). If I could dare some weird references comparisons, DDP succeded in Tolkien-inspired D&D adaptation when IDW did it on Willow-inspired one. And for the oldschool D&D players that loved to spend nights around a table with friends, for whom the success of an adventure was far more into the fun they got than the XP on their character sheet, this is totally in the spirit.