Comic Reviews /
Pathfinder #1 Review
By Garth the Geek
August 15, 2012 - 16:20
Creating a comic book based on a game can be difficult. Sometimes, it can be downright disastrous. (I'm looking at YOU, IDW's 'Magic: The Gathering'!) The problem is, when dealing with a world that has an established history and lore, stories can quickly become bogged down under the sheer weight of the source material; or they can go the opposite route, taking nothing more than the most superficial aspects of the original and feeling, as a result, shallow.
Dynamite and Paizo Publishing, on the other hand, have done everything right in making the jump from role playing game to comic book. That is, instead of hiring just anyone to take the creative lead on Pathfinder, they signed Jim Zub. For anyone unfamiliar with Jim Zub, he's responsible for one of the best fantasy comic books currently on the shelves: 'Skullkickers'. And if you haven't yet checked out Skullkickers, the entire first story arc can be read here FOR FREE (http://skullkickers.keenspot.com/d/20120122.html), and pages from the second story arc are added on a weekly basis.
I appreciate the fact that Dynamite and Paizo Publishing took the time to hire someone who's already proven he can write smart, fun fantasy stories – and it's paid off. 'Pathfinder #1' is a lot of fun. The dialogue is entertaining, and there were a few times I re-read particular passages simply because I enjoyed them so much.
The story follows a group of three: Valeros (the warrior), Seoni (the sorceress) and Merisiel (the rogue), and opens with them battling a group of goblins. The scene itself is nothing original – heroes battling goblins is common fare in fantasy – but the battle ends with an odd discovery: the goblins, in addition to displaying strange behaviour, are covered with markings none of the adventurers have ever seen. They take one of the corpses to be examined by a friend, and the story progresses from there.
The strength of the comic, much like the strength of 'Skullkickers', lies within the relationships and personalities of the characters, as well as the tight story-telling of Jim Zub. And while I know absolutely NOTHING about Pathfinder, knowledge about Pathfinder isn't required to enjoy this comic. Jim Zub has done an excellent job introducing the world and characters, and I'd go as far as to say 'Pathfinder #1' is about as good as one could hope for a first issue. This isn't to say 'Pathfinder #1' is perfect – it's not. It DOES have some minor flaws. Or, at least, two things that bothered me.
My first petty complaint concerns the choice of hair colour. This is a small thing, but when introducing characters to new readers, having them easily identifiable is good. In this case, both female characters have long, white hair, and I had go back more than once to figure out who was who. (And yes, one has white hair that's tinged pink, and yes, one has white hair that's tinged blue, but there were times when this difference was negligible.)
My second petty complaint concerns the scene in which Valeros told Ezren he had a present for him. Most people would have been like, “Gimme gimme gimme,” but Ezren just brushed this off and changed the subject. To me, Ezren's reaction doesn't seem natural. Had he said something like, “We both know how your PRESENTS have turned out in the past,” before changing the subject, that would have been different. But without some sort of context, the scene just didn't sit right.
But aside from my anal nitpicking, this comic was a lot of fun and I eagerly await issue two. I would highly recommend 'Pathfinder' to anyone who enjoys fantasy, or just a good read.
Rating: 8.5 /10
Last Updated: February 5, 2023 - 09:06