I’ve been a mostly avid tabletop gamer for much of my life, and there’s always that one person who takes the game way, way to seriously. For them, it’s life. Here is a comic that feels a bit like It meets The Chronicles of Narnia, but with roleplaying, and with someone who takes it way, way, way too seriously. I could throw in a few more “ways,” but I think you understand.
In the days before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the shifting sands of Jakku revealed the final resting place of the Imperial Star Destroyer Spectral. Since the Empire's fall, the lost behemoth has become the stuff of legends and ghost stories among the desert dwellers. In the first issue of Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down, intrepid scavenger Rey races to be the first to the relic with junk boss Unkar Plutt and his cronies close on her heels. The second issue picks up with Rey repelling into a dark corridor of the scuttled ship. She comes across Z2-Z2, a rebel astromech droid who's been aboard the Spectral since its last stand. Zeet helps her to safety and gives her an interface key with a holographic recording of rebel pilot Bak Rychuk. And the recording may just have the answers to how the Spectral came to be buried in the sand. The backup story, titled "The Ghost Ship," takes place three decades earlier during the battle of Jakku. The Spectral comes out of hyperspace above Jakku badly damaged. Rebels Bak Rychuk and Zeet find themselves trapped on the star destroyer just as its experimental new weapon causes a critical systems malfunction.
The chaos of the first two issues of Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion begins to find stability in issue #3, and it is a dreadfully pulpy good time. That’s the difference in tone with this story arc and what’s come before. Previously, the stories were very anti-superhero centric, spinning archetypes into mirror versions of themselves. In Hotel Oblivion, Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá leave the superhero pretenses behind and take these scarred characters with super powers and drop them into pulp genre decadence. Gracing these pages are smatterings of crime pulp, sci-fi pulp, and espionage pulp, and it makes perfect sense.
Jace and Tawnk’s bad day just went from bad to worse. The errand Jace thought would be a quick snatch-and-grab turned into a life-and-death encounter with a group of hungry aliens. Thus begins the third issue of Errand Boys (Image Comics), this season’s entertaining, intergalactic science fiction comedy written by D. J. Kirkbride (Amelia Cole, The Once and Future Queen).
Coda is thematically rich. Every turn of the story, every introspective thought, and every dialogue exchange relates back to the core of what’s really happening. Yes, there are big events, chaotic battles cascading with vibrant colors. There are cities with walls and giants! There are rotting Ylf heads that speak. There is raw fuel that creates magic called Akker, but everything is, ultimately, in its simplest form, nothing but background noise to the character flaw of our hero, Hum.
Magic! Adventure! Terror! Romance! DRAGONS! What isn't there to love about Dungeons & Dragons? For the uninitiated: Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop roleplaying game. Basically, this means you assume the role of a character and then use dice to determine what that character does and how well it goes for them. The game is so wildly popular that it has spawned movies, games, books, and comics for decades. Which brings us to today's offering: Dungeons & Dragons: Evil at Baldur's Gate.