The Horus Heresy Gets Graphic

Well, more graphic might be a better way to put it.  Black Library announced yesterday that they are working on a series of Graphic Novels for their beloved Horus Heresy series.  The first book, which will weigh in at 100 pages, will be out in November of 2013.  That’s a lot of advanced warning on a Graphic Novel but that just gives everyone more time to geek out about it.  The book will be called Macragge’s Honour (complete with the British/correct spelling of honor) and “explores the epic naval battle that starts in Know No Fear when Kor Phaeron escapes in the Infidius Imperator and Chapter Master Marius Gage gives chase.”

This looks like a winner to us, what do you think?

source: blacklibrary.com

The Dark Elf Trilogy Revisited

Listening to the R. A. Salvatore interview on this site compelled me to read all of the Drizzt books. At that time, The Dark Elf Trilogy was the only set of Drizzt books I had ever read. I found very quickly that I had forgotten just how good these books really are. Chronologically, this marks the very beginning of the famous ranger’s life, literally introducing Drizzt’s pregnant mother in the very first chapter. But let’s not fool ourselves, “mother” is not really a term suited for Matron Malice, an evil drow high priestess constantly seeking the favor of Lloth, a spider goddess who demands the sacrifice of each family’s third born son (in this case, Drizzt). I’ll not say anything about how Drizzt survives this cruel tradition; although I’ll give it away that he isn’t born with Twinkle and Icingdeath attached to his hands ready to defend himself. No mother deserves that, not even Malice.
Throughout these books, Salvatore describes the environment and events without too much straight exposition, allowing the reader to see the action on his/her own terms. The end result is a very real and personal connection to the Underdark and all of its characters no matter their alignment. The lines between good and evil are rarely blurred. We are left with no question as to the sheer evil of drow culture and its stark contrast to Drizzt’s principles of good. I realize that the current trend in fantasy is toward moral ambiguity, and I suspect you see more of that in later Drizzt books, but it can be very refreshing as a reader to know exactly where your hero stands. Salvatore reinforces the colossal magnitude of Drizzt’s raw talent and superior training through his interactions with Zaknafein. Re-living events like Zaknafein’s coin flipping test and Drizzt’s signature double thrust low are primarily what makes re-reading these books so damn fun.
By the second book, Drizzt escapes into the Underdark with no one but his faithful beast companion Guenhwyvar for company. Drizzt’s staying power as an exciting figure is quickly revealed as the pages continue to turn even as the protagonist is the only humanoid character. Through engaging internal monologue, Salvatore conveys Drizzt’s struggle to hold fast to his principles as his bestial side emerges in the face of total solitude and constant danger. Our favorite hero is not alone for long though. In order to salvage his sanity, he makes a desperate decision resulting in the formation of an unlikely and treasured friendship. Drizzt and his new companion flee a powerful entity whose success Matron Malice is counting on.
To me, the most unexpected and awesomely suspenseful thing about the trilogy is the delay in Drizzt’s decision to seek the surface. I kept wondering, when and how will he decide because after all, it’s common knowledge that the surface is where he ends up. Every step of the way toward making this decision, Drizzt shrugs off overwhelming odds against dangerous and exotic creatures. Salvatore maintains believability through some of the best detailed fight scene writing in all of fantasy literature. Finally, we do get to see Drizzt’s first interactions with the surface world. After initial problems stemming from the assumptions of local farmers along with the presence of a truly evil force from another plane, Drizzt finds a new mentor who sets the young drow on the course toward Ranger-hood.
This was one of the most pleasurable re-reads I’ve ever had and can’t wait to finish my first reading of The Icewind Dale Trilogy. There is one more thing I took away from The Dark Elf Trilogy. Although it is common now in fantasy to see characters that reject their innate racial alignment, at the time Salvatore introduced Drizzt it wasn’t as common. For this type of misaligned character to have genuine depth, there must be substantial and believable backstory for discerning readers to buy-in, and Salvatore proves to be a master at creating such plausibility amidst such contradiction with this trilogy.

Preview: Dragon Age Volume 1: The Silent Grove

I would venture to say that anyone that comes to this site has played a Dragon Age game, and if you haven’t, you probably should.  I myself am an admitted serial non-finisher of video games.  It’s very rare that I can manage the combination of time, patience and desire to ever “finish” a video game and the Dragon Age games are no exception.  I have played them however and found them thoroughly enjoyable.

Volume 1 of this new Dragon Age comic from Dark Horse is written by David Gaider who was responsible for the majority of the story within the video games and will be released in print on August 7, 2012.  Previously this was a digital only six part comic which finished up in May. Continue reading “Preview: Dragon Age Volume 1: The Silent Grove”

Preview: Road Rage by Stephen King

Stephen King and his son Joe Hill collaborated for the first time for Throttle, a short story inspired by another classic short story, Duel, by Richard Matheson.  Now IDW is publishing a new comic series entitled Road Rage which includes both stories.  The series originally began publishing in February of this year and a hardback version of the entire story will be out July 31st.

Issue 1 starts with Throttle, the story of a gang of motorcycle riding outlaws that call themselves ‘The Tribe’.  A quick warning: this story is definitely not for children, themes and content make this a mature audiences only book.  Fans of Lock & Key will immediately get a similar ethereal feeling from Throttle.  As the story starts up ‘The Tribe’ is heading down the highway while attempting to cope a set of unfortunate and unsettling events that have recently taken place.  As the story within the present unfolds these recent events are slowly unveiled as well, adding depth and tension to the story. Continue reading “Preview: Road Rage by Stephen King”

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. Continue reading “Review: Dungeons and Dragons Classics Volume 1”

Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics Volume 1

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. Continue reading “Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics Volume 1”

Locke & Key Volume 1

I’ve been eyeing Locke & Key for months now on the IDW app on my iPad.  The cover art looks interesting and the blurbs sound like something I would like but I’ve mostly just stuck to reading the new Dungeons & Dragons comic available every month.  The town where the main characters of the comic lived is named Lovecraft though and I could only stand not reading this comic for so long.  Over the weekend I found myself buying Volume 1, which contains the first six issues of this comic and was originally released in paper form back in 2008.

I went into the reading with zero preconceptions about what kind of book I was reading.  All I really knew was that there was a tenuous Lovecraft connection and that’s basically what pulled me in.  All six issues are well put together, the characters are three dimensional and the story draws you in from the first page.  The art in these books is amazing, if a bit more gory than I had expected and compliments the writing superbly.  Speaking of the writing, this is where this volume really shines.  The story of the Locke family is interesting and believable even while completely unbelievable things are happening all around them.  I keep wanting to call each issue an episode because it feels more like watching a television show or a movie than reading a comic book.  I was so entranced that I read the entire volume in one setting and overall I was very pleased with the experience and the ending of the arc in the sixth issue. Continue reading “Locke & Key Volume 1”

Deadly Storm

I will readily admit to being a huge fan of ABC’s show Castle. I really enjoyed the show FireFly back in the day and so when I saw Nathan Fillion was going to be on a new show I gave it a shot and have never looked back. The main character of the show, Richard Castle (Fillion), is an author that works with the NYPD to get an idea of how real homicide detectives work for his books, of which he writes about one per season of the show. What ABC did, which was very smart in my opinion, is actually release the books mentioned in the show as real books. Fans can even go to Richard Castle’s website and see his progress on books and the “cases” (episodes) he is helping to work on. Continue reading “Deadly Storm”