An impressive run continues with the IDW D&D Comic Ravenloft: Orphan of Agony Isle.
The IDW comic Ravenloft: Orphan of Agony Isle released this week as part of their ongoing entries into the wonderful world of D&D. Initial impressions for Ravenloft exceed expectations with beautiful art and an engaging story. This is a fun read and a visual joy to experience.
If you’ve read any of my articles you know that I’m a HUGE Dungeons & Dragons fan. On top of that one of my all-time favorite settings is the Dark Realm of Ravenloft. The gothic storytelling aspect combined with the World’s Best Role-Playing Game creates a perfect symphony of awesome to me. The limits of this world and the limits of the possible Comic Book stories are quite endless!
IDW Publishing travels to Ravenloft but NOT Castle Ravenloft
Set in the Forgotten Realms, RAVENLOFT: ORPHAN OF AGONY ISLE #1 released the last week of June 2022 and was an instant Top Pick. Ravenloft is beautifully crafted by Zoe Quinn and Casey Gilly (W), Bayleigh Underwood. Corin Howell (A), Cris Peter (C), and Neil Uyetake (L) add to creation of this awesome book. The creative team set the bar high for upcoming issues and in the span of one issue highlighted a vibe like no other.
There are TWO flowing narratives in each book. The stories consist of the “main story” and a secondary “side story”. The Main story is the thread that connects each issue and the Side Story is a method of adding Lore and exposition. The Main Story synopsis is as follows:
Frankenstein meets D&D! Journey through The Forgotten Realms and Deep into the Dark lands of Ravenloft. Follow new characters and adventure through all-new scenarios in a Golden Age setting!
Miraculously revived from a gruesome death, Miranda finds herself brought back to life. Miranda awakes with no memory and in the mysterious lab of the infamous Dr. Viktra Mordenheim of Lamordia.
There are unsavory experiments and graphic flashbacks illustrated by a new guest artist in each issue. Miranda will slowly piece together how she met such a horrifying fate and who wanted her dead. How has she found herself reanimated at Schloss Mordenheim and WHY?
Join Miranda as she uncovers why Viktra went through the terrifying trouble to bring her back.
A Horrific Dungeons & Dragons Inspiration
IDW Publishing is THE place to go for top-notch D&D comics, especially as of late. This latest foray into the world of Dungeons & Dragons is significant in that readers will get a glimpse into the gothic horror setting of Ravenloft. Some readers may recognize Ravenloft as the setting of D&D baddie Strahd but this tale diverts for an all new adventure.
Needless to say – this isn’t your parent’s Ravenloft and that is a GREAT THING! It’s based on the most recent Wizards of the Coast LLC D&D sourcebook, Van Richten Guide to Ravenloft. It’s full of classic Dungeon & Dragons settings with a new generation of players in mind. When describing this updated Classic Ravenloft setting, the Official Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook describes the Domain of Dread:
In a far-flung corner of the Plane of Shadow drifts a hidden expanse of roiling mist and vague semi-reality. At this eerie edge of the multiverse, the Dark Powers collect the most wicked beings from across ages and worlds. Travelers are trapped within inescapable, mist-shrouded domains and face horrific enemies just to survive the night.
This is the Domains of Dread. The nightmare demiplanes that form the D&D setting of Ravenloft. Sudden death and untold terrors lurk within these lands for careless characters. Keep your allies close and Welcome to Domain of Dread. Keep your copy of Van Richten’s Guide close to your heart!
IDW Publishing once again merges the best of both worlds
The original series, Ravenloft: Orphan of Agony Isle comics take place in Lamordia, a fantasy domain inspired by Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Using inspiration from the 5th Edition campaign sourcebook; Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, this tale by IDW highlights Viktra and Lamordia in a wholly original story. Although I would be 100% down for an ongoing series Ravenloft is slated as a mini-series as of this writing.
Quinn (writer) and Underwood (illustrator) were given the freedom to flesh out the Ravenloft plane and give the world more visuals, inspiration, and lore! This added element of personality is a HUGE plus for D&D players and Dungeon Masters who are looking for a greater level of World Depth.
In addition to the main narrative of the books, there is also a secondary backup story. The Side stories will delve deeper into this horror terrain. The Side stories are flawlessly written by Corin Howell, Vincenzo Riccardi, and Kayla Felty. The secondary story has a different aesthetic but stays true to the feel that Bayleigh builds in the Main Story. Casey Gilly, Ryan Cady, and Ro Mediavilla take lead in each of the accompanying “Side Quests”.
Monsters, History, Adventure, and Heroes: A Creators Journey In An Adapted New Series
Writer Casey Gilley sat for an interview with Newsarama/Gamesradar and was asked:
“What do you hope the fans of Ravenloft will take away from your work on this beloved gothic Universe?”
Gilley: I hope they’ll feel inspired and excited to either return to Ravenloft and start a new game. Or play for the first time. I love how horror opens the door for sequels, spin-offs, and more storytelling. So I’d love for someone to have the desire to have their own journey through this world. There are so many wonderfully upsetting things to play with (Trees made of heads! Goblin cats who eat magic! Boneless meat sacks!). I hope to return to writing Ravenloft in the future and see what disturbing, delightful things fans come up with.
Heart and respect for the Source Material went into the creation of Ravenloft: Orphan of Agony Isle. Knowing that I can not wait to see what the rest of the stories uncover. This series checks all the boxes for Comic Book AND Dungeons & Dragons fans!
Pick up Issue 1 and make sure to Pre-Order issues 2 & 3 NOW! And check out these Preview pages for Issue #1 – They are TO DIE FOR!!!