The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons has become an almost unstoppable franchise. With over forty years of storytelling to back it up, the fantasy brand has gone from household name to pop culture phenomenon. This revival in interest has been handled very well; it would be easy to overload new fans with decades worth of setting detail but instead the old adventures have been gently served out over the last few years. Case in point, Dungeons and Dragons at The Spine of The World, a graphic novel that takes the setting of Icewind Dale and turns it into a rip-roaring fantasy adventure.
Set in a land that has been cursed too forever be winter, the comic book follows the unlikely escapades of a small band of adventurers as they try and find a way to destroy the curse that blights the land. If that sounds familiar then that’s because it’s basically the plot of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frost Maiden. This graphic novel even has character sheets detailing the adventurers round the back. The story is pretty standard fantasy fare; the heroes bicker between each other and have their own secrets to keep, but pretty much do everything they can to win the day.
It captures the feel of the game quite well, though this means that this does feel more like a tie-in product than something in it’s own right; the book only collects the first four issues of the comic and this means that bigger surprises are only hinted at; it ends too soon.
Martin Coccolo’s art and Katrina Mae Hao’s colouring gives the book a glossy, prog-rock album cover feel and it really does look like something that’s a part of the Dungeons and Dragons range. What we have here is something that is so on brand that it’s hard to be too surprised by it. This makes it a great companion piece for those playing an Icewind Dale campaign, but we can’t say for sure if it’ll appeal to the casual fan. Still, if you like D&D this is well worth checking out.