Published on July 14th, 2012 | by Cosmic Comix and Toys0
Dungeons & Dragons Vol. 1: Shadowplague
Last time I read The Compleat Terminal City, which was an outstanding science fiction noir type story. This week I didn’t want anything complex, or grim, or dirty. I wanted some action-packed, light-hearted adventure that would make me smile but not think too hard. I found that in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS VOL. 1: SHADOWPLAGUE, written by John Rogers, Illustrated by Andrea DiVito, published by IDW.
Adric Fell is a hero with a plan. Little does it matter that his plans are always bad and inevitably get his band of heroes into even more trouble. As Adric says, all plans are bad so why put too much effort into it? Joined by Bree, the less than trustworthy Halfling thief; Varis, the elf, Kahl; dwarven poet turned paladin; and Tisha, some demon type girl with very little clothing, our band of heroes gets into lots of trouble while saving the world.
If, like me, you stayed away from this because it had Dungeons & Dragons on the cover then you have made a grave, grave mistake. This is one of the most enjoyable series on the stands today, and one of the main reasons is John Rogers’ wonderful script. Essentially, Rogers has created a superhero team book without the superheroes. Each character is unique in both personality and abilities and Rogers leverages the differences for maximum entertainment value through his crisp and witty dialogue. It’s almost as if the characters know they are in a comic book and don’t take themselves too seriously. Bree the thief is stealing from everyone and everything all the time. Kahl is quite the… poet? And so it goes, but for all their differences Rogers makes this feel like a family. It’s family in the way that a Fantastic Four book is about family. Every takes care of one another but they aren’t afraid to put you in your place if need be.
At the same time, Rogers moves the plot along at a brisk pace while developing subplots. It doesn’t take six issues to figure out what is going on! The mystery is set up on page one and off our heroes go. It’s lighthearted and fun and full of action. Di Vito’s art is, as always, very clean. Probably best known for his work on the Annihilation series, Di Vito has been doing comic books for a long time and it shows. His composition is outstanding and his storytelling is impeccable. He reminds me a lot of Tom Raney and Paul Pelletier. Solid, work horse artists whose are is never so splashy that it overwhelms the story.
Dungeons & Dragons: Shadowplague is a team book with plenty of heart and plenty of action. Neither the characters, nor the story takes itself too seriously which only makes it all the more fun. If you’ve been wondering where all the good times in comics went, then look no further because this is the book for you.
- David Lee