I’ve talked on the show quite a few times about how much I loved the Dungeons & Dragons ongoing series from IDW. Written by John Rogers with art by Andrea Di Vito, the series captured everything that was great about the tabletop RPG I grew up with. Swashbuckling fun, fantastic monsters and faraway places permeated every issue of the book, and it was consistently on top of my reading pile every month.
After issue #15 was released in February, things started to get a little weird. There were rumors of cancellation, and then word came out that the series was put “on hold.” This made no sense to those who had been enjoying the book, as it was widely praised for how well it represented D&D, and was arguably the best representation of the property to date.
Fast forward to the middle of May, and Dungeons & Dragons fans were greeted by a new comic, albeit not the one they were used to. Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms is a brand new series, and one that has seemingly replaced the Rogers/Di Vito one. Set in the legendary campaign setting of the Forgotten Realms, and written by FR creator Ed Greenwood himself, this new series certainly has the potential to be great.
But the first issue isn’t--in fact, it’s pretty mediocre.
The story in D&D: FR #1 involves a couple of regular joes who get caught up in a kidnapping plot where two noble houses are vying for power. The daughter of one of the houses is the kidnapee, and it seems she’ll become the third member of the core group of characters as the book moves forward. The story is at times confusing and frequently boring, and none of the characters stand out. Worse still, the setting for the story is very generic, which defeats the whole purpose of having the Realms as the backdrop in the first place. The art by Len Ferguson is good, but he’s not given a lot to work with here. As a first issue, the book does little to make me want to come back for the next installment.
I understand Wizards of the Coast wanting to push the Forgotten Realms, especially as the upcoming edition of the roleplaying game is currently in beta testing, and I believe the Realms will be the game’s default setting. However, shelving the previous D&D series after fifteen issues and switching gears completely seems like a really bad idea. I would think IDW stands to lose a lot of D&D fans if the next few issues of this new series don’t make a big jump in quality.
2 out of 5 Critical Misses