Written by B Dave Walter with artwork by Tess Fowler, Dungeons and Dragons A Darkened Wish is a D&D campaign in comic book form. Jay Fotos provides the colors, and Tom B. Long does the letters. The grand daddy of table top role playing games, Dungeons and Dragons has seen a resurgence over the past decade.
Rat Queens, which Fowler provided artwork for, was an original story set in a fantasy world. Its characters included a fighter, cleric, wizard, and thief. All of which are staples of the standard adventuring party.
A Darkened Wish exists as an official D&D product, letting readers know what to expect. The story opens with the coming of a large battle. We don’t know the reasons for the battle, but we know it will be epic.
I love the look of this page. The action flows upward from the large figures in the foreground toward the back, pulling the readers focus. The triangular design of the page greatly assists this effect. As the scene recedes, the detailed artwork becomes fuzzy, however; the details we can see are gorgeous. Fowler does an excellent job of making the reader feel the tension and excitement of the moment before the bloodshed starts.
Questions about the scene are many? What is going on? Who are these armies? Why are they fighting? These questions do not get fully answered in this issue, but if they did we wouldn’t need the rest of the series. While A Darkened Wish #1 doesn’t answer the many questions about the nature of the battle, it does provide plenty of intriguing history, and builds suspense. This causes us to want to read further in order to discover the answers.
A Darkened Wish Adventuring Party
Before the battle begins in earnest, we meet a few of the book’s main characters, but we still know next to nothing about them. After this brief introduction, they join the battle, demonstrating considerable power. Still, we don’t know enough to say much about them, other than they seem heroic.
Enter the flashback, which also happens to be the bulk of this issue. First, we meet Helene arguing with her grandfather about her life. He wants her to stay and undergo something called the Ascension, but Helene wants to live her own life. Begrudgingly, her grandfather lets her go, giving her a necklace. Helene leaves and soon encounters her two best friends: Aiden and Xander who decide to join her on her adventure.
The rest of the issues tells of their first adventure and friends they meet. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say this issue feels very much like how a Dungeons and Dragons campaign goes. You start off young and a little powerful. Then, you go on adventures, meet friends, make enemies, and gain more power.
Role Playing as a Visual Story
The creative team has done a wonderful job of making this feel like a role playing adventure without having the characters name spells or classes. No one says, I’m Helene and I’m a sorcerer, which is something that they could have easily done. All of the characters are fully realized and distinct. This book is accessible to those who like fantasy comics but know nothing about Dungeons and Dragons. Plus, the artwork is consistently fantastic and contains amazing detail.
If you like fantasy comics and/or table top role playing games, check this series out. Issue 1 came out today, so check with your local comic book store. It’s also available on comixology if you prefer the digital experience.
Have you read this? Do you want to read it? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for visiting.