Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Frost Giant’s Fury

Published: November 22nd, 2017
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Netho Diaz
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR

IDW Publishing, 124 Pages

Review:

This is the fourth story of the Baldur’s Gate crew and it’s also written by Jim Zub, who has done a solid job with these characters, thus far.

I thought that this might be the last of these released but I saw that there are two more stories on Comixology, so I’ll probably read and review those, as well, in the future.

Being that we’re four deep, I kind of expected this to settle in and be more of the same. However, I was surprised to discover that this one was a step up and maybe the best of the lot, up to this point.

The crew, after crossing paths with a powerful vampire in the previous story, were teleported to a snowy ice region in blizzard-like conditions.

There, they must convince a dragon to stop killing humans in a pact that will benefit both parties, as they have a common enemy, the frost giants.

I’ve always been a fan of frost giant stories in fantasy fiction. While they’ve generally just become a trope and are typically presented as one-dimensional, Zub did a pretty decent job of making them actual characters, specifically their leader.

All in all, these Jim Zub Dungeons & Dragons comics are just great fun. They also feature some of the best art IDW has created in recent years.

Rating: 7.75/10

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire

Published: November 23rd, 2016
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Nelson Daniel, Max Dunbar
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR

IDW Publishing, 136 Pages

Review:

This is the third story in Jim Zub’s run with these characters and it follows up those Baldur’s Gate stories quite well, leaning into the strengths of the series and making these incredibly likable characters even more likable.

Also, this continues to develop these characters while also strengthening their bond.

In this story, we get werewolves, other creatures and ultimately, a showdown between these awesome heroes and a powerful vampire lord.

Like the previous volumes, this is fun, energetic and thoroughly entertaining. Jim Zub has the right sort of vibe for sword and sorcery, especially the more lighthearted stuff.

I also like the art, here, and it’s consistent with the other two books before it.

All in all, these continue to be great and fans of action fantasy with a bit of humor should just give them a read.

Rating: 7.25/10

Comic Review: Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: Tyrants Rise, Heroes Are Born

Published: February 17th, 2016
Written by: John Ney Rieber
Art by: Jae Lee
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero & The Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 136 Pages

Review:

It’s kind of strange that I didn’t know about this until recently but once I saw it pop up on Comixology Unlimited, I added it to my queue.

I’m a big Jae Lee fan so the fact that he was doing the art for something associated with G.I. Joe was enough to get me to check this out.

This is a crossover between the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises but since they both exist in the same universe, it’s not the first time this has happened.

However, this is unique, as it takes place during World War II and with that, it was kind of a fresh way to cross these two properties over again.

The story was decent and I enjoyed it, as all the characters came off as pretty close to how they should be.

The art was really what put it over the top, though. I loved seeing Jae Lee do WWII era stuff and being able to mix that aesthetic in with two properties I love was pretty damn cool. In fact, this is now one of my all-time favorite looking G.I. Joe and Transformers stories.

Rating: 7.5/10

Comic Review: Frankenstein Alive, Alive! – The Complete Collection

Published: October 10th, 2018
Written by: Steve Niles
Art by: Bernie Wrightson, Kelley Jones
Based on: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing (reprint), 84 Pages

Review:

Originally released by Marvel Comics in 1983, this version of the Frankenstein story has stood the test of time because of the absolutely astounding art by Bernie Wrightson. In fact, if there were any original comic book art pieces I could own (not counting Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko), it’d be something from this visual masterpiece.

That being said, the story is also damn good and really compelling, as it serves as a sequel to the original Mary Shelley Frankenstein novel. It even exists in a world where that story is known, as more of a legend, and the monster is initially seen as portraying the legendary monster while carnival-goers believe it’s just a show and even point out that he doesn’t resemble the Karloff version of the monster (never mind that the 1931 film wouldn’t have existed in this story’s time).

Anyway, the story sees the monster have a final conversation with his creator before the monster is buried alive. He is eventually found by another doctor, who treats him well and tries to make him feel more human. That is, until this doctor’s wife discovers the monster and her reaction to him makes the monster remember that he’s an abomination and possibly born of evil.

This is a pretty dramatic and emotional character piece that shows the world through the eyes of the monster. It’s a unique and really cool take on the story and it most likely inspired a lot of the Frankenstein stories that came after, whether they were told in other comics, novels, films and television programs.

I love this comic and honestly, I just wish it was longer.

Rating: 9.5/10

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Tales – The Legend of Drizzt, Vol. 1

Published: March 21st, 2012
Written by: Geno Salvatore, R.A. Salvatore
Art by: Agustin Padilla
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR, characters by R.A. Salvatore

IDW Publishing, 128 Pages

Review:

This is the first Drizzt Do’Urden story that I’ve read outside of the six volume comics series that IDW published, which adapted his earliest literary stories.

This one takes place further in the future and he doesn’t have the family-like crew that he built up over those six volumes. Here, he teams up with an ally I’ve never seen before, as they hunt down a warrior dwarf that was turned into a vampire.

Once they realize that the vampire dwarf is another ally, they try to help him, as opposed to killing him. Together, the three work together to take down the master vampire.

This is a pretty decent story with decent art and I like the concept of a vampire dwarf. However, it feels pretty weak when compared to the better Drizzt stories.

I wouldn’t call this bad, it just falls below the standard I’ve come to expect from IDW’s Dungeons & Dragons comics.

If you like Drizzt, it’s worth a read but first, I’d definitely jump into the six volume series I’ve already reviewed.

Rating: 6/10

Comic Review: Star Trek: The Q Conflict

Published: October 30th, 2019
Written by: David Tipton, Scott Tipton
Art by: David Messina
Based on: Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry

IDW Publishing, 145 Pages

Review:

This has been in my Comixology queue for awhile, so I figured that reading it was long overdue and I wanted to enjoy a fun Star Trek story considering that modern Star Trek has gone the way of every other once great franchise after being taken over by “creatives” with political and social agendas and no actual creativity.

So the best thing about this miniseries was that it didn’t involve any of the Kelvin Timeline bullshit or anything remotely associated with the J.J. Abrams “reinvention” that started in 2009.

I find that kind of surprising, actually, as the comic industry is even more woke than the television and film industry and the fact that IDW of all companies gave fans something they wanted is worth a hat tip.

So the story sees Q, along with some other highly advanced alien species, bring in the crews of Kirk’s Enterpeise, Picard’s Enterprise, Sisko’s DS9 and Janeway’s Voyager. They hold a draft and each of the four alien species builds their own team, mixing up these crews into four new factions. These four factions then have to play games in an effort to entertain these godlike aliens while also settling their dispute, which is causing space and time to have some potentially catastrophic side effects.

Now the mixing up of crews felt unnecessary and it made it hard to follow, as it’s hard keeping tabs on which characters are on the same team. But that’s also kind of moot, as the crews are conspiring to solve the problem together while appearing to be playing the game by Q’s rules.

I actually really liked that Trelane from The Original Series was one of the aliens in this. He was often theorized to be a younger version of a Q. While he’s not, I loved seeing him banter with Q and sort of bending the rules of the game to his own personal advantage.

In the end, the humans find a way to end the conflict and to return back to their proper places in time and space.

This was an amusing and entertaining read and I was glad that I was able to escape into something under the Star Trek banner, once again.  

Rating: 6.25/10

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Evil at Baldur’s Gate

Published: November 21st, 2018
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Ramon F. Bachs, Steven Cummings, Dean Kotz, Francesco Mortarino, Harvey Tolibao
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR

IDW Publishing, 120 Pages

Review:

I probably stated this in my review of the previous Baldur’s Gate comic but man, Jim Zub really knows how to write great fantasy comics. Especially, those that deal with a group of characters with very different personalities that have great camaraderie and chemistry.

Also, Zub’s fantasy stories are just fun and action-packed. Evil at Baldur’s Gate is no different and it also reunites the group from the previous Baldur’s Gate story.

Overall, I didn’t like this as much as the first one but this felt like more of an anthology, as the group members had their own separate stories until it all came together at the end. The multiple subplots were still entertaining but I really wanted to see these characters go on a real adventure with each other from start-to-finish, after they were established as allies in the previous tale.

Additionally, the artists changed from issue-to-issue, which is fine but it did make the comic feels less cohesive, even if the styles did match up fairly well. However, it’s something I noticed and with that, it did take me out of the story.

Still, this was energetic and enthralling. It just made me further appreciate the heart Zub puts into his stories and it made me like these characters even more.

Rating: 7/10

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 17: Desperate Measures

Published: October 11th, 2017
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Sophie Campbell
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 129 Pages

Review:

After reading sixteen volumes in the IDW era Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, I took a fairly lengthy break.

I’m glad that I did, though, as this volume was really damn good and felt like a return to form of when the series was at its peak for me.

A lot happens in this volume but it’s also building towards something larger, which I anticipate will be a really awesome, epic story for all of these characters.

This was also one of the more emotional stories of the series. Something bad happens to a beloved character and it has a tremendously adverse effect on the Turtles and all their allies.

We also see new villains gain more power while getting a strong upper hand over the heroes.

I wasn’t sure how much I’d be invested in the series after the death of Shredder but Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz have written some really good shit.

All in all, and despite my sabbatical from it, it says a lot when I’m still reading any comic book series that’s gotten to seventeen collected volumes.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate

Published: May 27th, 2015
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Max Dunbar, Sarah Stone
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR

IDW Publishing, 130 Pages

Review:

This is the first modern Dungeons & Dragons comic that I’ve read that didn’t feature Drizzt Do’Urden. Apart from those stories, which I have already reviewed, this is the first D&D comic I’ve picked up since some of the classic issues from my childhood.

The main reason for me checking out this one before some of the others was due to it being written by Jim Zub. I like Zub’s writing, especially in regards to fantasy and sword and sorcery type tales.

So I wasn’t disappointed and I liked this quite a bit.

Mostly, I really liked these characters and the bond they develop over this story, as they form a team of heroes that has to stop an evil sorcerer from doing evil sorcerer things.

After finishing this, I hoped there would be more comic stories with these characters. I’m not 100 percent sure if there are but I’ll seek them out if they exist.

Zub brought his A-game, here, and I love how he creates a real sense of camaraderie between his characters. He also writes in a way where you can tell he enjoys his work and crafting stories in these sort of settings. Frankly, it’s kind of infectious and with that, makes you want to keep supporting the guy.

Anyway, this was a pretty fun and cool read. It left me wanting more and that’s what a comic book story should do.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other Dungeons & Dragons comics, as well as fantasy adventure comics written by Jim Zub.

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms – The Legend of Drizzt, Vol. 6: The Halfling’s Gem

Published: May 3rd, 2017
Written by: Andrew Dabb, R.A. Salvatore
Art by: Tim Seeley
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR, characters by R.A. Salvatore

IDW Publishing, 135 Pages

Review:

So I have arrived at the final chapter of the six Drizzt Do’Urden trade paperbacks. The series started out a bit murky but picked up steam with the third volume and then got really great by the fourth. The fifth was damn enjoyable and this one was also pretty cool, even if it wasn’t as good as the two chapters before it.

Still, this was a good, fitting conclusion to the series, even though it does leave things open for more. In fact, I know that there was another one-off Drizzt Do’Urden trade paperback that was released after these six original stories.

For readers who have stuck around this long, this is a pretty worthwhile tale.

It starts with the team of heroes we’ve grown to love being separated. However, over the course of the story, they find one another and come to realize that they’re sort of a family. Ultimately, they have to fight once again in an effort to save themselves and vanquish evil. Sure, that may sound fairly generic in the realm of a Dungeons & Dragons story but with characters this cool and this complex, you don’t really care too much about it feeling like it’s leaning hard into certain tropes of the genre.

The story moves at a good pace, it has a lot of subplots that are well-balanced but converge in a satisfying way and it leaves you with a pretty good ending, overall.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other Dungeons & Dragons comics, specifically those with the Forgotten Realms banner and more specifically, those featuring Drizzt Do’Urden.