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: 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: Red Sonja and Cub – One-Shot

Published: April 2nd, 2014
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Jonathan Lau
Based on: Red Sonya by Robert E. Howard, Red Sonja by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith

Dynamite Entertainment, 40 Pages

Review:

I’ve liked Lone Wolf and Cub stories since first discovering Lone Wolf and Cub as a kid in the ’80s. While the most popular version of the story for modern audiences is the Disney+ show The Mandalorian, Jim Zub wrote a Red Sonja version of the story a half decade prior.

This was written as a digital exclusive one-shot, which kind of sucks, as I’d like a copy in print to go along with my hundreds of other Red Sonja single issue comics.

I also wish that this was more than a double-sized one-shot, as the story really could’ve been beefed up into a miniseries.

Regardless of that, Jim Zub does quite a bit with limited space and I enjoyed this story, nonetheless.

I thought that the art was good and the action flowed really well.

In the end, this was a good, quick read that left me wanting more. For a low-priced digital exclusive, it’s definitely worth the price.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Red Sonja stories from Dynamite, as well as other sword and sorcery comics written by Jim Zub.

Comic Review: Conan: Serpent War

Published: April 22nd, 2020
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Vanesa R. Del Rey, Scot Eaton, Ig Guara, Luca Pizzari, Stephen Segovia, Carlos Pacheco (cover)
Based on: characters by Robert E. Howard

Marvel Comics, 115 Pages

Review:

Conan: Serpent War is kind of a neat idea.

It probably shouldn’t give top billing to Conan though, as it is a miniseries that features four heroes: the others being Dark Agnes, Solomon Kane and the one non-Robert E. Howard creation, Marvel’s Moon Knight.

The story is about this guy who has a psychic link to all four characters, regardless of their place in time and space. He brings them all together to help stop the two serpent-like gods who are going to war with one another.

My biggest complaint is that the story is pretty thin and wonky. And also, you never really get to see them all come together in any meaningful way.

Still, it’s a mostly entertaining story, that’s a pretty quick read.

I can’t say that it failed to meet expectations, because I didn’t have any. But it certainly doesn’t exceed them either. It mostly felt like a wasted opportunity to make an actual team that’s pretty interesting and could’ve made for some compelling developments.

However, with Conan’s involvement in the Savage Avengers title, this feels pretty weak by comparison.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other Conan comics Marvel has done since getting the license back.

Comic Review: Savage Sword of Conan (2019 Series)

Published: February 13th, 2019 – December 11th, 2019
Written by: Gerry Duggan, Meredith Finch, Jim Zub, Roy Thomas, Frank Tieri
Art by: Ron Garney, Luke Ross, Patch Zircher, Alan Davis, Andrea Di Vito, Alex Ross (covers), David Finch (cover), Marco Checchetto (covers), Dave Wilkins (cover)
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard

Marvel Comics, 336 Pages

Review:

This is the second time Marvel has done a comic book series called Savage Sword of Conan, although the original one was a black and white comic magazine while this one was a traditional color comic book. If I’m being honest, I had really hoped that this was going to be a colorless magazine but it was still pretty good, initially.

The first half dozen issues or so were written by Gerry Duggan and the story was solid and had a good flow and pace. About halfway through the twelve issue run, he went off to write Savage Avengers and the duties were then handled by four other writers all taking turns. This is where it became a bit disjointed and somewhat directionless.

Plus, Marvel had just relaunched the regular Conan the Barbarian title a month earlier, so reading both books, monthly, created a lot of confusion, as I couldn’t remember which events happened in which story arcs.

That being said, this probably reads better as a complete body of work, as opposed to reading it in one issue increments with a month of time between the chapters.

For the most part, I loved the art in every issue and am happy that Marvel are using some of their better talent on these new Conan books.

Side note: the first issue was absolutely fantastic. Everything starts to be a letdown after that.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: other Conan and sword and sorcery comics of the modern era.

Comic Review: Alpha Flight: True North – One-Shot

Published: September 4th, 2019
Written by: Ed Brisson, Jed MacKay, Jim Zub
Art by: Max Dunbar, Scott Hepburn, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Nick Bradshaw (cover)

Marvel Comics, 33 Pages

Review:

I used to read Alpha Flight back in the day but they were always sort of C-list heroes. Maybe it’s because they were Canadians and always seemed overshadowed by the A-list teams, as well as all the X-Men spinoff teams that monopolized the late ’80s and early ’90s. But I always had a soft spot for them, even if they only showed up in other comic titles when a hero or team would find themselves in Canada for some reason.

That being said, it’s been awhile since I read an Alpha Flight comic book, so when I saw this on the shelf of my local comic shop, I decided to give it a shot at $4.99.

Lately, I’ve only seen the team appear in the Old Man Logan and The Immortal Hulk titles. So maybe there are plans to dust them off and give them a new ongoing series considering that Jonathan Hickman is steering the X-Men ship now.

Anyway, this was an anthology that featured three short stories crammed into this slightly bigger than normal single issue.

I would have rather they just chose one of these stories and fleshed it out more into something bigger than a tapas meal. Still, each story was okay and engaging enough, they just felt skeletal, rushed and if I’m being honest, there didn’t seem to be much care put into them, except for the middle story about an event from Puck’s past.

Maybe this was made to test the market to see if there was still interest in a standalone Alpha Flight title. If this did go on to bring us a new series, I’d give the duties to Ed Brisson, as he seems like the one writer that has a good grasp on the characters, especially after using them in his Old Man Logan stories.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other Alpha Flight comics, as well as other recent Marvel one-shots and anthologies.