For all the slack they get, and I am guilty as any of that, when Wizards of the Coast get it right, they get it right!
I got this book at Dragonmeet pretty much by accident. I stumbled upon it in the second hand table and, because it was cheap and it was colourful, I bought it. Little did I know I was going to enjoy it so much and what it kept inside!
First things first.
The book is a hard cover graphic novel. When I say hard, I mean hard. As hard as any Dungeons & Dragons that WotC has published for the last few years. Hard. And just as well bound. Those pages are going nowhere any time soon. The paper is thick, with a lovely finish to them and the illustrations are colourful and vibrant.
They also had the good sense to give the work to be done by the professionals, and IDW has been the wisely chosen company. If the impressive catalogue of work by IDW doesn’t get you excited, the names they feature should. With John Rogers and Andrea Di Vito at the helm of this graphic novel, it was unlikely things would go wrong.
The story is typical D&D. A group of adventurers stumble upon a series of events that could destroy the world around them and they’re the ones to stop it all from happening. The characters are somewhat clichéd, but then, I wouldn’t be expecting anything else and that’s fine. However, their personalities do shine through and Rogers has the stunning ability to surprise you more than once during the adventure. There is also a certain amount of inventiveness in the way the characters use typical D&D powers and magic, which was rather refreshing.
The thing I liked the most, though, was the back of the book. What you get is a few pages describing the major events of the comic book in an adventure style so you can actually play it at the table with your friends. Fantastic!
My only caveat with this approach is that not all the locations that really mattered in the adventure were there. I am not sure if they will be displayed in the second volume of this adventure, so won’t complain about it too much.
I can’t support this product enough. I love it.
I love the initiative of bringing quality graphic novels, both in the quality of the production and the quality of the story. I love adding the table-top adventure at the end of the book. I love the price, affordable and good value for money. I love the artwork and I love the script.
Leaving some locations behind in the mapping was a bit silly, though. I know I said I wasn’t going to complain about it too much, but it mattered enough for me to take one star out of this book.
As a humble suggestion and maybe a way for this to progress further as a product, please include big maps like the ones supplied with other adventures. I would gladly pay another £10 for a nice set of maps!
Well done Wizards of the Coast, and well done indeed to IDW!
You can buy Dungeons & Dragons Volume 1: Shadowplague from: