Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pathfinder Comic: Dark Waters Rising

Jim Zub is a writer that handles fantasy with a touch of humor and timing. His work on Skullkickers is great.

It doesn't quite necessarily transfer over to Pathfinder though.

Dark Waters Rising collects volumes 1-6 of the Pathfinder monthly comic book. This includes a full arc as well as an individual piece that relates to that arc.

FIrst off, look at the cover. There are six characters there. In larger team books like Avengers and Justice League, often, although not always, there are some B and C list characters that are anchored to the team by a few A listers. When it's not like that, it's usually just all A listers.

In a new series, in a new publication, we cannot have any A listers. The problem with that is well, there are too many 'voices' to handle. No one gets enough screen time. This doesn't make the book weak mind you, but it does put it in a 'middling' area where one hopes that if it finds its audience, that it will continue to expand on the characters and showcase some more of them.

Mind you, the size of the cast doesn't stop Jim from giving us a few defining bits for each character. It's just for me at least, it wasn't necessarily enough.

More importantly, Jim does a great job with the verses of the goblins. If you've never played Pathfinder and seen it's take on the goblins, you're missing out. They are creepy, psychotic and rhyming. They are a fun race for players to face just to see what they'll say, but can be an annoyance for a GM to run unless he's got some notes prepared. Reading through Dark Waters Rising, break out that pen and copy those verses down!

The art is a little busy for me. Now that's strange if you look at the cover, but that cover is done by... some unattributed artist. Someone better at finding these things then me will be able to find it, but when I look at the cover and I check the interior to see who the artist is and the cover artist isn't listed? M'eh.

Outside of the story though, this is a hardcover collection so what else is present?

First, the book collects the covers. There are some great homage covers here ranging from Dark Knight Returns with a goblin taking the place of Batman, to Attack of the 50 foot Woman, amists others that tend to run towards cheesecake versions. As a comic collector, I've never been considered, impressed, or found the need to hunt down the variants. As an extra in a hardcover collection, it's a nice bit to have.

The covers done by Tyler Walpole for example? Great fantasy art and nice to see in paper. My own favorite thought, despite the skill Tyler brings to the genre, is by Lucio Parrillo. While it's a static shot of the group, it's good a feeling of weight to it.

The other thing the hardcover collection brings to the reader, is role playing information for Sandpoint and its surrounding environments. While I'm sure most of this material, including the art, is pulled from the role playing game, for those who've never played any role playing game, or who have fallen out of the hobby, it's a nice addition to get more details on the locations where the adventure takes palce.

As a comic fan, I wouldn't recommend Pathfinder. As a role playing fan, it's a fun bit.