One thing I’ve learned about Dungeons & Dragons is the idea of how much the idea of escalation runs through the property. The second issue of Dungeon & Dragons: A Darkened Wish shows that concept off.
B. Dave Walters, Tess Fowler, Jay Fotos, and Neil Uyetake advance the party in this issue.
In their early days, Helene and the party are on their way home for the first time since they went to sea. However not all is well, as the world is growing restless. It might prove to be the party’s undoing. Meanwhile, in their later days, the war between the split party is growing more and more brutal.
This issue is really interesting in that it’s two very different halves of a whole. Walters’ story is interesting and fun in both, but one of the two is definitely stronger, and it’s glaring. The “then” half of the story is primarily set-up, with some interesting lore and fantastic character work. It’s quickly clear that the characters have grown since last issue, but we see more about how they’ve changed, than how they got to this point. However, it’s a fairly slow story until the last two or three pages.
However, the “present day” half of the story is much stronger. It has solid action, but it also uses these action scenes to advance character and plot. We get a strong sense of growth for the characters and the shared traumas they’ve been through. Unfortunately this portion of the story is much shorter (yes, I keep saying half but it’s more like two-thirds to a third), so we really only see a glimpse of what’s happening.
Without a doubt though, Fowler and Fotos’ work together is the highlight of the issue. Fowler’s line work is extremely expressive and energetic. She drives both the action and the character moments with a constant sense of motion- no one is ever static or still, even when Helene is just sitting in the crow’s nest or the twins are watching the horizon. Fotos uses bright colors throughout, which adds to the sense of motion in the line art. Nothing ever feels dark or muddy, which actually makes the horror of the party’s betrayal even more emotional.
It was a long break between issues, however D&D and fantasy fans will absolutely love this issue.
Dungeons & Dragons: A Darkened Wish #2 is available now from IDW Publishing.