Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Andrew Huarat
Publisher: Dynamite
Reviewer: Rob Patey
(aka – Optimous Douche)

I’m a long-time D&D dork, but sadly life has limited my days of hours-long campaigns with Bong hits and Led Zepplin in the background down to 30 minute WoW jaunts between honey-do lists and dog walking.

So, I’ll fully admit PATHFINDER the RPG passed me by. None the less, my love for orcs and crits remains steadfast and true. If I can’t get carpal tunnel rolling 20 side die, I’m grateful to still have time for comics so Dungeon Masters like Jim Zub can run me through their campaigns on page.

Zub seems forever steeped in the ghost of Tolkien, whether by design or circumstance I’m not sure, but it suits him. I’m a HUGE fan of Zub’s tongue in cheek tale of yore SKULLKICKERS, where a dwarf and  strong guy crack wise at traditional fantasy tropes – if you haven’t read it, check it ooouuuttt.

For PATHFINDER, Zub straps on his serious face to deliver a tale of rhyming goblins infected by a virus that transforms them from their usual state of just being a nuisance into marauding blood-thirsty hordes.

Of course, no threat would be complete without a band of heroes to stop them in their tracks. Again, I don’t PATHFINDER the game for dick, but I do know fantasy. Zub not only strikes the chord of class balancing from a powers perspective, but more importantly, he provides a differentiation of voice in accordance with each class. The team consists of: Valeros the drunken brash warrior; Seoni, the wise calculating sorceress; Merisiel the doe eyed elven Rogue; Ezren, the wise wizard; Harsk, the surly Dwarf guide; and last but not least, Kyra the wise, soulful,  and serene cleric.

Zub melds these personalities into perfect usefulness on and off the battlefield. Whether trading barbs in a bar or battle cries amidst bloodshed, each adds a new and distinct layer ot the tale that would be missed were they not there.

Speaking of bloodshed. Good God is Huarat a great artist. From facial expressions in the quiet moments to dismembered goblins, Huarat expertly brings the moments of PATHFINDER to glorious life in ever panel. Likewise with each background. When Valeros first meets Kyra in the middle of an open field, I could almost feel a soft summer breeze emanating from the page.

Fans of PATHFINDER are brain dead if they don’t buy this book. Aside from seeing a campaign spring to life, the back of the book is packed with maps and enough 8d stats that almost make the book encyclopedic in nature. Not a PATHFINDER player, that’s A-OK. Zub makes the story as close to other fantasy fare as possible without outright aping previous authors. In fact, I was pleased to see he has immense talent outside the immense snark of SKULLKICKERS. Parody isn’t easy, but it’s certainly easier than dipping into a well where many buckets have been before.s