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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Comic Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms by Ed Greenwood

 Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms is a series of comics with five issues written by Ed Greenwood. The story is described as political intrigue in the city of Waterdeep. The series was released from May to November 2012 by IDW Publishing, with the interior art being done by Lee Ferguson, while there are two cover options: A done by Tyler Walpole, or B done by Steve Ellis. 

Just like my previous comic-book review, I bought all of these issues from There is also a trade paperback omnibus, as well as a hardcover version.

B covers

Also like my previous comic review, this will contain spoilers so I will not be extremely limited on my thoughts, and I will also not be leaving a rating since I am mostly unfamiliar with comics.

Issue #1 starts with two roguish fellows, Torn Telmantle and Randral Daunter, in the Dock Ward of the City of Splendors. They are racing to meet with Skorlus, who they discover has been brutally murdered. They learn of a scheme to kidnap Talandra Roaringhorn, so when we switch to the Lord and lady Roaringhorn we discover that she has gone missing, presumably at the hand of the next people were are introduced to; Blaeyz Glasgerd and Imbrar Salkyn.

House Roaringhorn is a noble family with branches in both Waterdeep and Cormyr, some of the Cormyrean branch appear in the Cormyr Saga. These are likely distantly related, as these comics were released during the Fourth Edition era, and though it is not stated, the story is likely set in 1479 DR like most other 4e things (though nothing tips us off on a specific year beyond this).

A prank by the lady Talandra takes a dire turn, and the rogues Torn and Randral are implored to help when they are cursed by a dying cleric of Tempus, the war god. They then, somewhat aimlessly, attempt to find Talandra as they are pursued by the watch.

At the end of this issue, I was interested in how it would turn out. I was not a huge fan of the style, but Greenwood's stories are all over the place, and I felt this kind of worked here. The cover was a bit misleading, as Torn and Randral are the characters with the most attention at this point while Talandra is indisposed, but will likely get a larger role as a character once rescued.

Trade Paperback omnibus cover
Issue #2 starts off the chase once more, but our anti-heroes quickly unite with Talandra who joins in the escapade of running around the rooftops and streets of Waterdeep. The chance takes them into the sewers of the city, where eventually they find a secret escape, leading into unknown territory. 

Issue #3 the party is in some sort of ruin, as other groups attempt to rescue them, and others attempt to murder. There are a plethora of words (mostly curses) from the Common tongue used, which most authors in the Realms do not utilize, but Greenwood of course does since he invented most of them. There are trolls, a displacer beast, a rage drake, and some tentacled foe in this issue, plus more!

Having read Greenwood's work, he likes to jump to a different set of characters often. Since we have pictures, almost all the prose here is dialogue. This does not flow very well as it jumps scene very often, and seems sporadic.

Right near the end we discover the portal has brought everyone halfway across Faer├╗n to Battledale. With some of the twist, this issue increased my interest in the story.

Onto Issue #4 we have drow! Not too surprising, since there is one on the cover. This puts our trio in dire straits until a dwarf named Markell comes to the rescue (he can be seen on the A cover for this issue). They are then corralled by a direhelm to confront the King of Ghosts who wants to make a deal with them. We end with a confrontation with a yuan-ti mercenary.

Issue #5 continues and concludes the chase as our anti-heroes and the Lady Talandra arrive in the Border Kingdoms, which was not what I was expecting. 

Overall, I feel this would work better for me as a short story, or even expanded as a novella or full novel. I was not much of a fan of the art style, and the jumping around was too much. I also don't really like comics much, but I am glad I read this as I now know about the Ghost Holds, as well as have three NPCs to utilize if I ever run a session in the Border Kingdoms. These may be the comic books for you, and I will surely be reading more adventures, in comic format, in the Realms.


You can track my current progress here.

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