Story: Rafer Roberts
Art: Kristen Gudsnuk
What They Say:
A young Ranger woman who came to the city with dreams of adventure, her drug-dealing reptilian wizard roommate, and her boisterous Dwarf maiden BFF embark on a modern-day quest to save the world while struggling to keep their crappy day jobs and pay off their student loans. The roommates become embroiled in danger when one of their significant others finds himself taken by criminals, and the trio must save him.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Growing up far too long ago in the early days of D&D and all the magazines we had and the comic strips and things within, I have a real affection for this type of material about a kind of slice of life existence in a fantasy world mingled with the real world. Rafer Roberts has done some fun stuff in the last couple of years but this is up my alley in a different way and it’s pretty fun here as it works through the familiar with ease. It also works out well as Kristen Gudsnuk delivers a really great looking book with fun designs, some solid layouts, and some very expressive characters that just delight in watching them deal with what’s being thrown their way. That comes together very well to make for a fun opening installment.
The premise is solid as we’re introduced to Sage of the Riverlands, a former ranger who’s now doing desk work in a company for Bok-Darr, a barbarian of a boss. She’s making ends meet with a roommate named Gondra who is getting serious with a guy that makes for an awkward time at home. That time is also a bit awkward since her friend Lizard Wizard crashes there as well and he often brings his friend that’s actually quite the thief. And said thief picked up an amulet at a place that Lizard Wizard was at where it’s pretty valuable (and likely something more than just a basic amulet) that now basically has a mob boss type character gunning for all of them to get it back. It’s a straightforward enough and easy accessible setup that delivers exactly what it needs to.
The fun is in all the details of it all. Some of it is a bit overdone to some degree, such as the newscast on the radio that plays like a normal one but with all the fantasy elements, but it also delivers well with the unusual cast of characters combined with the problems of everyday life. Sage’s lateness is problematic and she’s got long meetings to go to that just drone on and on, leaving her dreaming of her ranger days. She’s interested in the hot elf at the office but wary of taking things too far there – though she’ll smoke a bowl with him and the others. It has some of the basic life drama material here but balances it with quirk designs that are very appealing and the kind of real-world humor mixed in with the way you have to just get through the day to survive and go to work another day.
While you can see the basics here with what’s doing in the setup and where it’s likely to go, I’m expecting some fun little twists along the way knowing Rafer Roberts. The characters are all quickly accessible, though I dislike the name Lizard Wizard in a way I can’t quite pin down, the locations are fun, and the quirks of this particular mix of ideas come together well. Kristen Gudsnuk is definitely spot on the right person for something like this as we get some great expressive characters, a whole lot of neat little details, and just a good sense of how to frame everything for what’s a very dialogue-heavy installment. I’m really looking forward to more of this.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 27th, 2018