Sunday, January 13, 2013

Forgotten Realms Issue 19-Picking Up The Pieces

Well, after a long hiatus I am back.  So I figured I would start back up by continuing my series on the old DC Comics Forgotten Realms comic series.

Last issue ended with the Realms’ Master destroyed the crew stranded in a desert. This issue picks up with “King Agrivar” hosting an elaborate feast with cameos appearances of characters from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Spelljammer comics as well as the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

Rags Morales gets a chance to draw a ton of cameos

This feast is revealed to be in honor of King Agrivar’s new bride, “The Empress of the East”.  The happy festivities come to an abrupt halt when the Empress, who is of course Ishi, reveals her shame at being betrothed to “a drunken ale-swilling barbarian”.

At this point Agrivar briefly comes out of his delirium to a much less pleasant reality.  The Realms’ Master crew is still stranded in the desert and the situation is dire.  Agrivar is suffering both from a severely broken leg and from his forced relapse into alcoholism. He is being tended to by Ishi, but his prospects for survival don’t look good. 

Vartan’s hand is still injured from last issue, and while he is doing better than Agrivar he is getting the cold shoulder from Ishi after the homicidal and rape-loving turn he took while possessed by his god.  Vartan is also suffering from a severe crisis of faith.  He is horrified by what Labelas did while in control of his body, and wants nothing more to do with the deity.

This just adds to the tension between Vartan and Ishi because he could easily heal Agrivar with his clerical powers, but cannot bring himself to call upon powers granted by a being he has come to loathe.  The tension between Ishi and grows as they realize Agrivar is getting worse and may even lose his leg.  Ishi demands Vartan heal Agrivar and she does not react well when he refuses.

After the last few issues, Vartan did have this coming

Meanwhile, Captain Omen is not reacting well to the change to Second Edition AD&D.

When fourth edition hit, Captain Omen hung himself

As night falls, the tension between Ishi and Vartan continue to escalate. It finally gets to the point where Vartan tells Ishi, “You cannot kill Labelas, the best you can do is kill me!”  Ishi decides to take him up on his offer.

The reactions of the crew are priceless

In the end Ishi realizes she can’t kill Vartan for his god’s actions, even though she wants to.  She is shocked when Vartan breaks down in tears.  He wants to die because he doesn’t know how to make amends for his god’s sins. Vartan’s raw emotional outbreak breaks through Ishi’s anger and she has an answer for him.

Beautiful work by Rags Morales in this scene

Just when things are looking up, the crew is attacked by desert leopards.  No really, this is what happens.

Really, a desert leopard?

With only three crewmembers anywhere near fighting condition, things do not go well for them.  Especially when it is revealed that the desert leopards have humanoid allies with poisoned blowguns.  Ishi is the last one standing, so right before she succumbs to the poison she gets to see that they were defeated by leopard skin Conan and Red Sonja.

Equal opportunity cheesecake

Sucks to be them!

Thoughts

  • This is the first issue that Rags Morales did the interior art on since 15.  He has been missed.
  • I have to hand it to Jeff Grubb on how he handled the fall out from the avatar storyline.  I remember that when I first read this issue I was considering dropping the comic, but this issue changed my mind.
  • Captain Omen’s freak out over the relatively minor changes between First Edition and Second Edition seem funny to me in hindsight.  An early causality of the edition wars, I guess.

2 comments:

benensky said...

Good to see you are back at it.

A Hero said...

@benensky - Glad to be back. I am going to talk to the gang and see if we can get the old Lords of Tyr podcast up and going again as well. No promises on that though.

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