• Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate

    Published by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: May 6, 2015
    Writer: Jim Zub
    Artist: Max Dunbar
    Cover Artist: Sarah Stone
    Purchase at Amazon

    A young elf, Delina, is searching for her twin brother Deniak who has gone missing in the city. Delina has the gift of magic in her, but it is an uncontrolled gift which she’s only just learning to control and understand. Quite by accident, she brings to life a statue of a famous but thick-headed ranger named Minsc and his sidekick Boo the space hamster. The towering Minsc thinks she’s someone else, and Delina quickly learns how numb this statue-come-to-life is; but she also learns how valuable he is to her safety.

    The two hook up with a couple of thieves, an elf-human hybrid named Krydle and a dwarf who calls herself Shandie, and they enlist their assistance to find her brother and get them out of the city. Once they locate Deniak, or rather HE locates THEM, they realize he didn’t need to be found or saved at all; quite the contrary really. Delina’s magic abilities were always a source of jealousy for the boy elf, and as an adult it’s no different; he aims to harness her gift for his own devilish plans no matter what the cost to her. Or him.

    IDW collects a five issue series based on the well-known video game Baldur’s Gate into one single volume for those in the world who dig one book over multiple ones. And if you’re not at all familiar with the game or the characters, present party included, fear not; you need not know anything about it in order to enjoy and follow this story. Jim Zub does an excellent job of making sure not to alienate the uneducated when it comes to the legends and lore that surround the characters. And there are a number of characters involved with the tale, more than mentioned above (such as the elf Coran and Duke Ravengard) but Zub does well at keeping things from being too convoluted. Although the content is aimed at a younger audience he keeps things grown-up enough to make for a tight little story of swords and sorcery for all ages.

    The art chores are handled by Max Dunbar and he lays down a clean image with just enough style to give his work some flair, but what really makes his work impressive is his backgrounds. The use of thicker lines in the foreground and thinner lines in the detailed backgrounds give his pages dimension and a great sense of space. The covers from the original five issues are used here as chapter stops with art by Sarah Stone, and her work is very attractive stuff. Each of her cover paintings utilizes a particular hue that is prevalent in the piece and it makes for eye catching image.

    Also within the pages of the collection are variant covers that were issued for subscriptions and the like, and there are some fantastic fantasy pieces to behold. Look for work by Michael Komark, Raymond Swanland, Guido Kuip, David Baldeon, Tyler Jacobson, and interior artist Max Dunbar. Also Dunbar lends some concept art showcasing the characters found in the story.

    The story ends with the possibility of a follow up one, but it also ends in such a way that closes out the story so a sequel is not necessary. Zub succeeds at delivering a satisfying wizards and warriors yarn, and Dunbar’s creates a really nice looking book that demands more than just a quick glance as the reader moves through the book. This creative duo will hopefully produce more material together, Dungeons & Dragons related or not, as they have a good thing going with their output here.