REVIEW: ‘Dungeons and Dragons: Fell’s Five,’ TPB

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dungeons and Dragons Fell's Five

Dungeons and Dragons: Fell’s Five is published by IDW Publishing. This trade paperback collects all fifteen issues of the original 2010 run of Dungeons and Dragons: Fell’s Five. It comes from the creative team of writer John Rogers, artist Andrea Di Vito, colorist Aburtov from Graphikslava, and letterer Chris Mowry. Additionally, artists Denis Medri, Horacio Domingues, JUANAN, Guido Guidi, Vicente Alcazar, Nacho Arranz, and Andres Ponce, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterers Shawn Lee and Neil Uyetake provided work on single issues within the collection.

The series focuses on a band of heroes and adventurers and their various escapades. The group is led by the human warrior Adric Fell, a clever and stalwart hero who always has a plan. He is supported by the sneaky rogue Bree Three-Hands, noble paladin Khal Khalundurrin, wise and worldly ranger Varis, and the newest addition to their group, the powerful warlock Tisha Swornheart. Together this party saves towns from shadow plagues, hunts doppelganger assassins, and lives up to their titles as heroes.

Dungeons and Dragons: Fell’s Five is a brilliant collection that truly captures what makes Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) so great. The writing is snappy, the pacing is quick, and the characters are wonderful. Each member of the Five feels like a fully fleshed-out person from the moment they appear in the first few pages. This is largely helped by giving each character specific traits that they reinforce as time goes on. For example, Bree is sneaky and somewhat duplicitous. Even Adric admits he doesn’t trust her, but he likes to keep her close. She is constantly stealing from anyone she can and often suggests less than heroic options. The varied way that Rogers portrays this helps the characters feel both familiar and never one-dimensional.

The art, primarily from Di Vito, is excellent and really breathes life into a world that many people have only experienced in their imaginations. The characters all have fully realized designs that show a great deal of thought went into their creation. From Khal’s tiny stud earrings to Bree’s metal caps at the ends of her braids, every character has a remarkable amount of detail.

The other artists, most of whom are only involved for several pages of single issues, are less effective. At times the shift to a new artist from one page to another can be jarring. This is largely because Di Vito’s more realistic style clashes with the sometimes stylized art from the others. This is a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things, but it does keep the visuals from being perfect.

The colors from Aburtov are outstanding. Each issue has a variety of palettes that are perfectly suited to the situation at hand. One of my personal favorites is a forest standoff between a band of orcs and a merchant settlement. While the moonlight gives everything a blueish hue, the colorists also use oranges and yellows to simulate the settlement’s fire. As a result, every page is bathed in warm and cold colors, the clash of which reinforces the action happening on the panel. This kind of strong coloring work helps enhance the presentation greatly.

The story is further bolstered by strong lettering. The decision to give more monstrous characters a distinct font reinforces their characterizations and helps them stand out. In addition, the letters are always clear and easy to follow.

I would also like to touch on the extra features of this collection. Despite the bulk of the book being made up of the comic itself, the last thirty or so pages are all extras. Among them are short playable versions of the plots of several issues of this series. This allows the readers to create their own characters or use the various heroes’ sheets to play out the tale in their own way. This is a brilliant way to marry this story to its source material. Each adventure is only a handful of pages, but all of them can be linked together to form a decently long series of games.

Overall, I really enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons: Fell’s Five. From the strong character work to the beautiful art and colors, this series is a success on every level. Add to that thirty or so pages of meaningful extras, and suddenly you have an excellent collection of a series that perfectly encapsulates what makes D&D so great. If you’re a fan of the tabletop or other D&D comics, then this is a must-read. If you’ve never played, but you like fantasy, then I highly recommend this one to you as well.

Dungeons and Dragons: Fell’s Five is available wherever comics are sold.

Dungeons and Dragons: Fell's Five TPB
4.5

TL;DR

From the strong character work to the beautiful art and colors, this series is a success on every level. Add to that thirty or so pages of meaningful extras, and suddenly you have an excellent collection of a series that perfectly encapsulates what makes D&D so great.