Beneath a crimson sun lie wastelands of majestic desolation and cities of cruel splendor where life hangs by a thread. Dark Sun brings the post-apocalyptic DUNGEONS & DRAGONS setting to comic book life.
Dark Sun was after my time. I spent a lot of time playing Dungeons & Dragons, and even more time reading the line of books that came from them, but I quit the D&D habit just before Dark Sun was launched–so, while I’m familiar with the whole fantasy fiction genre, Dark Sun is new to me. I mention all this because I have to think that if I had been familiar with this world in advance then I might have been more interested in this book from the start.
As it happened, my opinion of the book is that it is kind of the same as the world itself–bland like a never-ending wasteland. I had no interest in the characters, and the setting just seemed like a typical fantasy fiction world minus all the elements of fantasy fiction that I enjoy. However, my inner gamer eventually took the bait–specifically when the key to the underground city is introduced. The problem is that this particular plot point takes up very little of this issue.
The dialogue is also problematic in places–mostly in the pacing for the one liners. Peter Bergting’s art is well suited for the book, and he does a nice job of giving this world a unique look.
Dark Sun could end up being a great series, but this first issue only gives the slightest glimpse of that.
Ultimately, I found Dark Sun to be very linear and bland. Dungeons & Dragons has never been of great interest to me. I remember a friend talking me into playing once a very long time ago, and I don’t think I even finished the game. I became bored and frustrated. It took so long to do anything in that game, and it all depended on the roll of the dice. I see now that the same thing applies to the comic, and the dice did not roll in its favor this time.
The story sticks to the D&D basics, but it does so with a lack of panache. It didn’t sizzle the way a good fantasy should. Maybe it was because the characters are the only focus–next to a thin plot–and they are fairly bland, regular, and overused avatars. There is a slave and a slave hunter, and they are on a journey to find some treasure. That’s the barebones of it.
We learn that the slave is an ex-gladiator and he was sold out The reason remains a mystery for now, but it involves a girl. The slave is a gruff ruffian who constantly muses about killing the slave hunter, and the slave hunter is an obnoxious bard type who easily gets under the skin. The story is like a bad buddy film, but with more sand and swords.
I really don’t know what I expected from Dark Sun; I mean a Dungeons & Dragons movie was attempted and we all saw how poorly that turned out.
Maybe it’s best to leave the D&D to the roll players in a basement somewhere. I don’t see this comic taking off into something more than just a second-hand fantasy story. Best just to save your money for that shiny new 20-sided die.