Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire #2

Our intrepid heroes are in Ravenloft now, plane of darkness and evil… so how is this book so damn lighthearted and funny? There’s three things you want from a gothic horror world, werewolves, vampires, and an old gypsy woman. Its issue two and we already have all three! Each is also shown as legitimate, the vampires are scary and deadly, the werewolves are monstrous, and the old gypsy woman is foretelling gloom and doom. Now typically these three would make for a gruesome and dark story, and yes the art nails that perfectly, but we have Minsc optimist of justice extraordinaire. Vampire bats show up, he speaks of how vile they are with over the top unintentionally hilarious terms. The DnD_2016_02-coverfortune-teller promises failure, and Minsc refuses the idea and calls her a liar. The werewolves have probably the best line saying being left in Ravenloft is worse than any damage they could do to the party.

The action is sparse but kinetic when it happens. This is the one part where the party is much less quipy (which I appreciate), besides the onomatopoeia action effects cover that well. The art in general is great, it did take me a while to adjust to the artist change. Having the artist of the first miniseries do the covers to the new series really doesn’t help. But Daniel’s art is perfect for a story in Ravenloft. There is a nice gritty darkness throughout with gorgeous backgrounds. I hope he sticks around once this series inevitably returns…or maybe they can just make this an ongoing? Please?

My only real complaint with the issue is that most of the cast is just there. Minsc is obviously a focus, because he’s Minsc, and the new to this arc character, Nerys who is showing she is about as bad ass as one would hope. As a whole this isn’t a huge complaint because the other characters still do have small quips and moments, but it is a pick to nit.

While the Baldur’s Gate series was a strong representation of Dungeons and Dragons to a comic, thus far this series fully nails not only the D&D feel but also perfectly illustrates what a great roleplaying session and story is like. All while also being a great comic.

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Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire #2
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Nelson Daniel
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 6/15/16
Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital