Review: Dungeons and Dragons Classics Volume 1

I recently reviewed the first volume of the Forgotten Realms Trade Paperback  reprinting by IDW comics which covers the first eight issues of the original comic.  Today I’m reviewing the first volume of Dungeons & Dragons Classics which contains the first eight issues of that comic which was originally published in the late 1980’s.  This comic series is once again placed in the world of Faerûn and starts before the Forgotten Realms books timeline wise.

The first story arc is contained in issues one through four serves to bring the entire party of adventurers together and introduce the main heroes of the comic, but is also serves as the back story for Priam Agrivar, whom you might remember from the Forgotten Realms comic.  Without giving too many spoilers, the history of Priam alluded to within the other comic series is fleshed out in more detail here and we see the adventure which leads him to cliff diving for fun at the beginning of the other comic series.  The other members of the party include iconic race/class combinations such as an Elven wizard named Cybriana from Shadowdale and a female human fighter named Vajra Valmeyjar.  However the other two members of the group introduced in this first story are a bit more quirky than what you might see in a comic based on a newer edition of Dungeons and Dragons.  The first is Timoth Eyesbright, a male centaur fighter and Onyx the Invincible, a dwarven fighter/thief that specializes in throwing darts.  These two characters serve to bring about some interesting situations and inject humor into the story in a way that is reminiscent of 1st edition games and as such they truly add to the overall comic.

The second story arc, or adventure, focuses on Cybriana, Onyx and Vajra and fully introduces the character of Conner, a human whom I suspect is a thief.  This second adventure is much more light-hearted than the first and carries along fairly quickly, adding a dash of mystery and a great deal of humor to create an entertaining story.  No cleric or priest character is present in either of these first two stories but there is definitely a strong Selûne flavoring as both stories mention her to one degree or another and hint at her interest in the PCs themselves.  Not having read any of the other comics in this series before I don’t know if this is foreshadowing or not but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Selûne in future issues.

If I had it to do over again I would probably read this volume before reading the Forgotten Realms TPB if only to get the full background story of Priam Agrivar before reading more about his adventures.  In whatever order you read them though this volume has definitely managed to hold up over time.  I found myself especially enjoying the page or two at the end of each comic where the writers would add in information about the groups introduced during the comic as well as the 1st edition stat blocks for PCs, NPCs and magic items used during the issue.  These alone are a treasure trove of interesting tidbits for any D&D or Forgotten Realms fan and provide extra entertainment as well as adding to the depth of the overall story of the comic.

Overall this is still a great comic even decades after it was originally released and gets an extra bump from those extra information pages after each issue.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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