Pathfinder is a role-playing game that takes older Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rules and modifies them to enhance the good points and correct some of the rules problems. It has proven to be a very popular rule set for gamers and it is no surprise that a comic book based on it has hit comic shops.
The story by Jim Zub is good and fits the classic role-playing theme with a mix of adventurers who band together to take on a bigger threat. It is nothing really original but it moves along at a quick pace and has some nice elements of humor to break things up. The only thing I did not care for was the lack of guards posted at the entrance to the town, a fact noted by the characters as they enter, and which is never referred to again. Why waste space on something that is not going to be addressed. There is also a rather surprising amount of characterization in the story, especially Valeros the fighter who shows a softer and more delicate side when interacting with Kyra the cleric. Well done.
The art on the other hand seemed overly busy and is often hard to follow at times. Andy Huerta is obviously a talented artist but it almost seems like he feels the need to fill every ounce of space with artwork which often results in crowded panels and an overuse of shadows. Page twelve (starting at the cover) features a panel where a main character and two new characters we have not seen before are featured and they are all in shadows for some reason.
Panels are often over crowded and feel as if they have been zoomed in too far; arms come in from the side, tops of bodies are cut off and small panels often contain a half dozen different characters. There is a panel at the end of page seven which takes less then a quarter of the page and has three main characters, three town people, three long word balloons AND Andy has added a shadowed foreground of something that blocks out a third of the panel.
Other pages do not suffer from this claustrophobic art style, the scene that takes place in the field is an example of good angle variety and an accessible panel layout. What the comic needs is more of those pages and less of the packed-to-the-bursting-point pages that drag the story down.
If you are looking for a good adventure story or to get your role-playing fix away from the table this is a good choice. The comic also includes a dozen pages of character stats, information on the town, a poster and pull-out adventure map to use in the role-playing game. I would have to say that is a great deal for $3.99 and future issues should only get better.
7 out of 10
7 Word Summary: Good story let down by cramped artwork.
Dynamite Comics – $3.99