Quick Hit: Dungeons and Dragons: Infernal Tides from Zub and Dunbar

 *Editor's Note - Welcome aboard, Rachel! This is her debut piece for the website, and we're incredibly happy to have her aboard.

Dungeon & Dragons: Infernal Tides 
Written by Jim Zub, art by Max Dunbar, colors by Sebastian Cheng, additional colors by David Garcia Cruz, letters by Neil Uyetake

Published by IDW
After reading and giving up on a couple of other comics, I saw that IDW had a Dungeons & Dragons comic out, and I thought, “why not?” I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did, which shows how snooty I was being. Just because a comic is based on an existing property doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, exciting, and gorgeous. And any comic that includes a line of dialogue like, “My hamster senses great danger!” is automatically worth a read in my opinion.

The party featured in this story is made up of the massive, fearless-bordering-on-stupid human ranger Minsc (and his hamster Boo); sorceress moon elf Delina, who has to deal with occasional magical flareups; Nerys a human cleric who makes great use of the spiritual weapon spell; Shandie, a halfling rogue who knows how the world works and is able to think several steps ahead; and Krydle a half-elf, half-human rogue who likes to call both himself and Shandie urban scouts and, much to Krydle’s dismay, has a fondness for puns. They meet up with Aubree Lucent, a young human woman who is a paladin in training. She was on a mission with her father Alistair to retrieve a box that was stolen from the leader of their city of Elturel. When we meet the pair, Haruman, knight of the devil Zariel, is in literal hot pursuit of them on his fiery mount. Zariel is able to spirit away Alistair, but Aubree still has the box. Without giving any spoilers, all you need to know is that a big part of the plot revolves around the seemingly endless war between devils and demons.

The art by Max Dunbar with colors by Sebastian Cheng and additional colors by David Garcia Cruz is really great and the characters, creatures, and landscapes are appropriately fantastical. Places like Avernus, a plane in Hell, are drawn with more gloomy, intense shades and you can practically feel the heat coming off the page. The city of Baldur’s Gate and fortress-library of Candlekeep in the material world are drawn with brighter colors. I’m reminded of the lovingly detailed art for Fables. Animals make frequent appearances including Boo, Minsc’s hamster, and tressyms (adorable winged felines about the size of a housecat). Battle scenes have an epic scale to them. The architecture, like the fortress-library of Candlekeep and the merchant buildings of Baldur’s Gate, are another place where the art is used effectively to convey size and culture. The writing is quick paced but provides enough exposition to those who aren’t familiar with all the ins and outs of D&D. There are tons of funny lines of dialogue, but there’s also the suspense of not being sure if all of the party members are going to make it out alive. If you enjoy sword and sorcery fantasies, regardless of whether or not you're familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, pick up a copy of Infernal Tides