This first Trade Paperback collection of original Forgotten Realms comics was released early last year. For those like myself who didn’t have access to an actual comic store in the late 80s/early 90s when this comic was originally released, this TPB release was fairly exciting. The first eight issues of the original comic are included within this volume which comprises two separate story arcs. The first story, “The Hand of Vaprak”, is contained within issues one thru four and the second one, “The Dragonreach Saga” is told in issues five thru eight.
Characters And Background
There are six main characters within the comic: Captain Omen the human wizard and captain of the ship, Minder a female golem, Ishi the swordswoman, Foxilon the halfling, Priam Agrivar the human palidan and Vartan the elven priest. Each of them seems to have a unique back story though they only get partially explained in the first two story arcs.
Priam is our entry point into the story and over the course of these eight issues he remains the central character and has the most growth. We find out within the first page that although he is a legend in his homeland most of them think him dead and he has spent the last ten years as a drunken cripple within Waterdeep. Only recently recovered, (no indication as to how) Priam is looking for adventure as the first issue begins and does nothing but find it throughout all of the comics in Volume 1.
The story of the Forgotten Realms comic revolves around a group of adventurers that travel the realms looking for artifacts, studying them and then disposing of them in one way or another. “The Hand of Vaprak” therefore is not only the name of the first story arc but also the name of the first artifact the group seeks to find and dispose of before it can fall into the wrong hands. As this is also the first story in the comic a good deal of backstory and bringing the party together is also handled within the first four issues. The story doesn’t seem to stall however and stays highly entertaining throughout.
“The Dragonreach Saga” picks up immediately after Vaprak and is by far the stronger story of the two. As the story begins Omen brings the group to Shadowdale in hopes of speaking with Elminster and finding out how he seems to know when artifacts surface somewhere in the Realms and learning the trick for himself. The story is entertaining though it conveniently leaves a few loose ends that I imagine might come back to haunt the heroes at a later date. The story moves along well though and never fails to entertain. It doesn’t hurt that the arc manages to pack in Elminster, Lord Mourngrym, umpteen dragons and the Tarasque all while keeping an exciting and entertaining story moving along at a fast pace.
Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics Volume 1 is an entertaining read. The stories and art still hold up well after over ten years. As of the writing of this review there is one other volume already released and a third due out in March, both of which I will probably buy as well. If you are a fan of the Forgotten Realms this is probably for you. If you are like me and enjoy getting to read an entire story arc at a time without having to wait for the next issue of a comic then you’ll be doubly pleased with this volume.