Once upon a time, I was young(er) and used to play Dungeons and Dragons. It was long before the online role-playing games were even conceived, so it was basically good old make-believe adventures, in the strictest sense of the words make-believe. Back then, I used to read all the accompanying literature inspired by these imaginary game worlds – all of them expanded on Tolkien’s legacy – wizards, elves, dwarves and dragons… One of these books was The Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore. It was a good read then, but none the less fun now – in the comics version.
Enter the Underdark realm, where the dark elves dwell. They are beautiful creatures of dark skin, white hair and red eyes. Their world is a harsh one though, in which crime and treachery are rewarded, while friendship or love perceived as weakness. Their spider queen goddess Lolth favors the females while males are considered inferior – thus the dim city of Menzoberranzan is ruled by the Matriarchs clerics of Lolth. Into this sinister reality, a special purple-eyed child is born. The third living baby-boy of house Do’Urden was intended as a sacrifice to the goddess Lolth, to assure victory in war against another royal house. Luckily the baby survives. The unduly death of his eldest brother by the hands of his second older brother seemed to appease Lolth and cancel the need for further sacrifice. This is the dark elves’ way. Brothers may turn on each other to advance family hierarchy; houses may be destroyed to gain social status; and newborns may be sacrificed in exchange for success in battle.
The purple-eyed boy named Drizzt turns out to be very different, in many ways other than just the unusual color of his eyes. He does not seem to take any liking to the cruel ways of his kin. When he turns sixteen, he is placed under the vigorous training of the best weapon master in a thousand generations – Zaknafein – in whom he finds a mentor and a kindred soul. Later on, he will find out that there are stronger ties that bind him to the unusual weapon master. Eventually, some years after, Drizzt is send to spend long years in the Melee-Magthere Academy, where he will become a true blackened-heart Drow fighter, as Zaknafein the weapon master dreads the most. Will Drizzt be able to keep true to his own kind nature? Answers will unfold in this first volume of The Legend of Drizzt.
Now, here’s something I wanted to say all along but waited until now. You got to appreciate the exotic names!!! I mean, “Menzoberranzan”? and “Melee-Magthere” and “Zaknafein”? And there are many more in the comics I haven’t mentioned here.
The book was adapted to comics script by Andrew Dabb, who did a great job in keeping the important details, while maintaining drama and suspense. I liked the opening scene where a poor creature of the lands ‘above’ is snatched and devoured by…something…in the dark.
Penciler Tim Seelly presents traditional fantasy art, clean and very beautiful. Easy to follow frames with expressive characters, where you will find plenty of beautiful yet deadly warrior-cleric-elven-women, wizards and fighters, unique monsters, and other magical creatures, all digitally colored in the beautiful purple-gray shades of the Underdark, by Blond.
This comic is highly recommended for anyone who’d favor the classic fantasy genre, with swords, magic and heroic deeds. The Underdark caverns serve as an original, fascinating and elaborate context. I’m definitely going on to the next volume.