The vibe of this issue is interesting. It’s clearly inspired by Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons; it’s at times serious, but other times goofy. It’s hard to say with this first issue how exactly it’ll play out, if it’ll continue this balance or if it’ll favor one tone more than the other. Either way, I found it to be an enjoyable issue. It intrigued me and was very entertaining for someone who’s a fan of the aforementioned influences. The story begins with a Lord of the Rings style opening until it pulls back to reveal that it’s a D&D game going on. The game is interrupted when the DM’s mother busts in and informs him that his day off is cancelled and he needs to help out in the family restaurant. In the restaurant we meet our main character Gareth Thompson and his daughter Corrie. After an exchange with another restaurant customer we learn that Gareth would love to pursue music, but because of his ex-wife and a foreclosure he’s on his way to interview for a security job in Las Vegas at a new hotel by the name of Archon. Points for using the name of the series in the story.
Once Gareth arrives at the hotel he pulls out his job offer letter and everyone freaks because it’s red. He’s ushered to the back where he runs into real goblins. I mean he doesn’t seem to know that, but they are. After that we continue to see a variety of fantasy creatures that all seem to work at this hotel. I’ll leave it there, not much of a spoiler, but still more than I knew going in.
As I said in the beginning there’s this strange bit of reality and fantasy to the story. You honestly feel for Gareth’s situation, but then when he takes the job you have to wonder how this is all going to play out? What’s his role in all of this? My only gripe with the story was his interaction with the customer at the restaurant. There’s a lot of political correctness going on in the scene for an era that’s not known for being very “PC.” That and I didn’t really get why Gareth spotted the customers car and followed him with his eyes the minute he hit the ground. In the end it works out, but it wasn’t the best start to the scene.
The artwork doesn’t always vibe with the serious tone that the story hits. It’s okay, but the art is so stylized with everyone having big boxy jaw lines and exaggerated features that while still illustrated convincingly, didn’t play to the strength of the art. Again I think the second issue will help establish the tone more. Overall though the art is consistent and enjoyable. I really liked the character designs and the exaggerated features. The fantasy creatures in particular were designed well and a nice touch to the story.
I’m very curious about this series. I don’t quite know where the series is going to go, but I’m curious to find out. It’s hooked me with its strong references to LoTR and DnD. I’ll be curious to see how Gareth fits into the story and if the Regan era references will play out in the larger story. Overall though it’s a fun issue to check out.