Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review - Pathfinder Origins issue 1

Script by Erik Mona
Art by Tom Garcia
Colors by Mohan
Letters by Marshall Dillon

From the Dynamite website:

'An exciting new Pathfinder adventure begins! To prove themselves to the Pathfinder Society, Valeros the fighter and his companions must recount tales of their early exploits in a world beset by magic and evil. In this issue, Valeros crosses swords with the brazen barbarian Amiri when both serve as hired guards escorting a doomed caravan through the treacherous Bloodsworn Vale. Contains pull-out poster map and official Pathfinder RPG bonus encounter!'

I’ve enjoyed the Pathfinder comics up to yet and this series is a nice new angle on the heroes I’ve come to enjoy. I’d say it’s a better starting point for newcomers to Golarion as it gets to the bones of the antagonists and serves as an introduction, not just to the characters but to the world as a whole. There’s plenty of references to places and events that non-Pathfinder readers won’t recognise, but this adds background and flavour to the story and it isn’t necessary to know the world inside out. Erik Mona’s writing shows his deep knowledge of the Pathfinder world without alienating newcomers, so it’s a crisp, enjoyable read for everyone.

The story itself is interesting and filled with adventure, but I can’t help but feel that the introduction is a bit too long and the dialogue throughout can feel a lot like exposition, and I didn’t feel as though I got to know the characters as well as I would have liked – sure, I know them from the previous comics but it would have been nice to know a little more about them as people rather than just read about what they got up to in their early years. In fact, we learn more about the character of Amiri, and I ended up wanting to follow her story more than the comic’s title character Valeros. Still, it’s an imaginary world so exposition is almost a given, and it’s the first of 6 issues so we’ll no doubt learn more as we go on.

Tom Garcia’s splendid artwork, highlighted by the atmospheric colouring by Mohan and the clean, functional lettering by Marshall Dillon is what shines in this comic. Garcia’s illustrations are dynamic and he renders the iconic heroes well, and in spite of a particularly gruesome image of someone being cleaved in two, which I felt was somewhat out of place and gratuitous, the imagery is wonderful and captures the action, adventure and danger of the setting really well.

Pathfinder Origins issue 1 is action packed and will please Pathfinder players as well as general sword ‘n sorcery fans. It’s a good solid read and the extras that you get in the comic – the map and the RPG encounter – are a welcome bonus. Recommended.

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