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.

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms – The Legend of Drizzt, Vol. 5: Streams of Silver

Published: October 12th, 2016
Written by: Andrew Dabb, R.A. Salvatore
Art by: Val Semeiks, Tyler Walpole
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR, characters by R.A. Salvatore

IDW Publishing, 136 Pages

Review:

The fifth of the six Drizzt Do’Urden comic books stories picks up where the fourth one left off. If you read my review for that one, you already know how much I liked it, after starting to lose a bit of faith in this series after the first three entries.

I had high hopes for this series before starting due to how popular the character of Drizzt Do’Urden is and because I’ve heard great things about his literary stories.

While I didn’t like this one as much as the fourth, it’s still damn good and made me excited for the sixth and final installment.

In this one, we see Drizzt and his allies travel a great distance on a new adventure after having just survived a war in volume four. He has his enemies in hot pursuit and draws the ire of another baddie, who forces an alliance with the evil man trying to hunt Drizzt down.

So the villains form a group to rival Drizzt and his allies and the stakes and danger are pretty high. I like that this had an unstoppable golem in it, which had to be outsmarted and taken out of the picture because you can’t actually kill it.

This story ends badly and not every hero comes away unscathed. Drizzt loses allies and it sets up what should be a worthwhile and heavy-hitting finale.

Shit, I got this far and didn’t even talk about the heroes having to fight a big ass dragon that’s hoarding treasure.

There’s just a lot of cool stuff in this volume and there isn’t a single page that’s a bore.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other Dungeons & Dragons comics, specifically those with the Forgotten Realms banner and more specifically, those featuring Drizzt Do’Urden.

Comic Review: ROM vs. Transformers: Shining Armor

Published: March 14th, 2018
Written by: John Barber, Christos N. Gage
Art by: Alex Milne
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro; ROM the Spaceknight by Bing McCoy, Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema

IDW Publishing, 121 Pages

Review:

I liked occasionally reading ROM the Spaceknight comics when I was a kid. I was never a huge fan of the character, though, but I still thought he was kind of cool and I really liked the art in the original Marvel run.

It’s been decades since I’ve read ROM but since he’s made his way back into comics and Hasbro wants to make a crossover movie universe with ROM, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Micronauts and M.A.S.K., I figured I’d get reacquainted with him and his mythos.

So what better way is there to experience what Hasbro wants to do on a cinematic scale than experiencing it in the form of a crossover comic featuring both the ROM and Transformers franchises?

I thought the art here was pretty good too. And the story was decent but not great. I liked seeing these two properties merge, though, and they did it in a way that made sense for both universes.

This is also written like it was the first part of a planned crossover event that would’ve kept going. However, there doesn’t seem to be a proper follow-up to this tale.

This primarily follows a small group of Transformers characters that don’t include leaders like Optimus Prime or Megatron. This is basically a “first contact” sort of situation where these two universes meet for the first time and it seems like something much bigger should come out of it.

The leader of the Decepticons in this story is Starscream, where the Autobots have Ultra Magnus.

That being said, I thought that Ultra Magnus’ character was really off from his personality and it made me question if the writer really knew the source material. Since one of the writers is Christos Gage, I was more perplexed by this, as he’s done solid work with other Hasbro stories, previously.

Ultimately, this was an enjoyable read but some things left me scratching my head and because of that, this wasn’t as great as it could have been. And maybe that’s why there hasn’t been a sequel and also why Hasbro hasn’t really been able to get the crossover plans off the ground and into the mainstream like they had hoped.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other IDW Transformers and ROM comics.

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms – The Legend of Drizzt, Vol. 4: The Crystal Shard

Published: June 29th, 2016
Written by: Andrew Dabb, R.A. Salvatore
Art by: Val Semeiks, Tyler Walpole
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR, characters by R.A. Salvatore

IDW Publishing, 135 Pages

Review:

Finally! This is the Drizzt Do’Urden comic book story I had been waiting for! This one pretty much lives up to the hype I’ve heard about this character for years and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The story is my favorite in the comic book adaptations of R.A. Salvatore’s iconic novels, as it is really the first truly epic tale featuring the dark elf.

The main story in this surrounds a war between a network or small villages and a growing, tyrannical empire led by a wizard with a powerful crystal shard that gives him immense power and control of a powerful demon.

We also get to see the expansion of this universe, as new core characters are introduced and the politics of this part of the world take shape.

This obviously features Drizzt Do’Urden but it also gives the reader their first experience with another great Forgotten Realms character, the warrior Wulfgar. This also serves as his origin story, which was surprisingly good. In fact, I’d call it damn good.

The art also looks much better in this volume and this started to feel more like the better Conan comics, tonally and quality-wise, than something that looked overly indie. And I don’t mean that as a knock against indie comics, as obviously I’ve loved and reviewed many, but the art of the first three volumes was below the standard I felt these stories deserved.

This series was losing steam with me but now I am reinvigorated and pretty excited to read the final two volumes following this one. 

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: other Dungeons & Dragons comics, specifically those with the Forgotten Realms banner and more specifically, those featuring Drizzt Do’Urden.

Comic Review: Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies

Published: March 3rd, 2021
Written by: Simon Furman
Art by: Guido Guidi
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 130 Pages

Review:

I got a little hyped up when this series was first announced, as it was supposed to serve as a prequel to the original Transformers – Generation 1 comic book canon from the ’80s. I used to read those when Marvel was pumping them out and when Transformers was one of the hottest toy franchises of the time.

Sadly, I found this to be a bit underwhelming, as far as the story goes. Everything was told in flashback through narration like it was a distant legend. That’s fine and all but it didn’t need to do that and it kind of wasted time setting up the story each issue. Time that could’ve been used to tell a richer, deeper story in a more direct fashion.

The story itself was just okay and there wasn’t much in it that was surprising and all that interesting. It just read like a generic prologue where most of the events within it were fairly predictable. It’s not a bad story. it’s just not a very exciting or inspiring one.

Now I did dig the art. It was pretty much akin to what you would’ve seen in the old Marvel Transformers comics of the mid-’80s, even down to the color schemes of the characters, which differed from their cartoon and toy counterparts.

This was a fairly cool throwback but at the same time, if more Transformers stories were done in this style, I don’t think that I’d be quick to pick them up.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other Transformers comics, as well as other comics based off of Hasbro toy lines.