Published on April 7th, 2020 | by Jules-Pierre Malartre0
Review: Dungeons & Dragons — Infernal Tides #2
Infernal Tides is the fifth comic book storyline chronicling the adventures of the band of misfits from Baldur’s Gate. So far, the series as a whole has not disappointed, and the only negative thing I can say about this latest storyline is that it probably will end too soon.
When the first Baldur’s Gate comic book series (Legends of Baldur’s Gate) came out, I was ecstatic. Well, actually, I was disappointed at first, because I was really hoping IDW would publish more stories about the Fell’s Five gang of adventurers. All good things must come to an end, I guess, but I still turned the cover page of issue 1 of Legends of Baldur’s Gate with a certain level of apprehension.
That apprehension disappeared the moment Minsc and Boo came to life in full-page glory on page 11. If you’re into anything D&D, you will, of course, remember Minsc and Boo from the original Baldur’s Game video game. While most of the memorable characters from D&D lore came from novels and comic books, Minsc and Boo captured the attention of fans from a computer screen. This is one of the great things about Dungeons and Dragons—everything is tied together. It does not matter if it’s a marketing tactic to sell more stuff; If you’re a fan, it’s the kind of thing you like about any franchise. We all enjoy how Marvel was able to weave their Cinematic Universe in an almost seamless storyline. D&D was already doing that decades ago, and its recent incarnation (5th edition) is no exception. With the release of every new adventure for the desktop game, tie-in novels, comic books, video games and merch soon follow. Infernal Tides is a tie-in for the Descent into Avernus D&D tabletop adventure. As if the adventure book was not already beautifully illustrated and descriptive, the Infernal Tides comic book series only breaths additional life into that storyline with characters we’ve come to know and love for a few years already.
The art in Infernal Tides is what we’ve come to expect from this comic book since the first series. Max Dunbar has delivered consistent, appealing work for this series over the years. (Even the contributions of other occasional artists have produced consistent appealing artwork.) The two-page spread of the Blood War on pages 2 and 3 is impressive and on par with the art in the D&D rulebooks and adventure—and this is only a comic book. I don’t know how big a title this is for IDW, but I’m very impressed that they keep making sure that the art remains just as satisfying, book after book, series after series. I remember a time when sword and sorcery comic books were not the best-selling one (they still aren’t, I’m sure), and they often suffered from below standards art. This is not the case here. Infernal Tides is how D&D or any sword & sorcery comic book should be drawn. Dunbar’s illustrations of Candlekeep, a staple of the Forgotten Realms, really bring to life the great scholarly city, from the first panoramic view as the band of adventurers approaches the city, to the expansive views of the great library. No matter how I’ve pictured Candlekeep over the years, Dunbar catches it just right. When it comes to action sequences, let’s just say that the fight between the imp and Boo is epic!
Jim Zub delivers another page-turner in this issue. I’m glad that Minsc gets a chance to prove he’s more than just dumb muscle. We had a good Boo story during the previous story arc (Evil at Baldur’s Gate Issue 5), and now it’s Minsc’s turn. If you did not like the big ranger from Rashemen, you will be the time you finish this book.
This story arc will end soon, and that makes me terribly sad. Other D&D comic books have recently completed their story arc (A Darkened Wish, Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons Chapter II: Painscape). This is the last ongoing series at the moment. I’m sure IDW and Wizards of the Coast are working on more. (There’s a strong hint at the conclusion of Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons Chapter II: Painscape that more is to come), but I do hope that we haven’t seen the last of the Baldur’s Gate companions.
Dungeons & Dragons: Infernal Tides #2
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Max Dunbar
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: February 12, 2020
Cover Price: $3.99