Monday, May 26, 2003

KODT: Everknights #6 - A Review

Written by: Tony DiGerolamo
Penciled by: Diego Jourdan
Inked by: Diego Jourdan
Colored by: N/A
Lettered by: Manny Vega
Editor: Mark Plemmons & Brian Jelke
Publisher: Kenzer And Company

Okay class: quick review.

Two months ago, I told you about “Knights of the Dinner Table”, or KODT. KODT is a comic book that depicts a group of role-players in Munice, Indiana as they sit around the table and the humor that lies therein their lives, personalities and the games themselves. The book has a huge cult following, especially in the role-playing community, and has spawned to spin-offs and an actual Hackmaster RPG based off of the gaming system in the comics, which is in itself a parody of old-school Dungeons and Dragons.

Last month, I told you about “Knights of the Dinner Table: Illustrated” or KILL. KILL shows the adventures depicted in the various role-playing sessions of Muncie’s RPG groups, illustrated as actual events. So instead of seeing a guy named Bob sitting at a table, declaring “I’m gonna waste them with my crossbow!” we get to see a belligerent dwarf exclaim “I’m gonna waste them with my crossbow!” This is all illustrated in an action-filled fantastic style that could easily stand toe-to-toe with the swordplay in many Cross-Gen fantasy titles.

And so that brings us to this month and this book. Knights of the Dinner Table: Everknights. Or for short… Everknights. And what is the story behind Everknights, you ask?

You know that small section of books at the end of every bookstore’s Science Fiction/Fantasy section that is full of various titles based on the many varied worlds of Dungeons and Dragons? Books with titles like “Dragonlance: The Hemorrhoids of Hrothgar” or “Forbidden Realms: Pool of Decadence”?

Simply put, Everknights is a parody of those books. It is a comic based on a series of non-existent novels based on the fictional Hackmaster RPG as shown in the very real Knights of the Dinner Table comic.

The cast of characters will be familiar to anyone who has ever role-played, read “Conan the Barbarian” or had any contact with fantastic literature. The main plot of the book thus far has followed “The Everknights”, fresh from saving the Universe as they destroy an evil warlord and set about converting his castle into their own base of operations. The cast of regulars includes…

Skragg- the fighter. A well-meaning, but not too bright half-orc who struggles with the spirit of his evil half-brother, who has taken up residence in his body and is slowly taking over.

Lefty – the thief. A not-so-well meaning, but way too clever for his own good sneak who bites off more than he can chew and then runs for cover. Still, he is loyal to his friends so long as they can protect him.

Kevlar- the wizard. A powerful yet lazy, corrupt old man who got into magic because he found it easier to learn how to summon and control a succubus than to date a real woman. Currently dating a medusa named Cendra.

Steve- the dwarf. An ex-berserker, who has been recently blessed with magical intelligence… much to the annoyance of Kevlar

Priestess- the cleric. The goody-two shoes trying to hold the destructive habits of everyone else at bay and make them better people, even as she fights the urge to smite them all and let her Gawd sort it all out.

This issue opens with the team inspecting a crypt underneath their new home and finding it not filled with vampires, but with a legendary fighting master named Tung-Ho. After beating the entire team in a scene that will have fans and haters of Manga comics laughing, Tung explains that he was acting as the magical lock to hold a fierce monster in stasis and that he must now train the Everknights so they may help in the battle.

Manny Vega, who was writer and artist on this book when it first started as “Hackmasters of Evernight” several years ago left the book on this issue (except for doing the cover art) and his passing will be missed. Still, it is apparent (as he notes in his farewell on the title page) that the book is in good hands.

Tony DiGerolamo easily equals Vega as a writer. DiGerolamo is also author of the fantasy satire “The Travellers” and is well familiar with the humorous fantasy genre. The aforementioned fight scene is a classic, with Tung-Ho following the habit of many Anime/Manga heroes and shouting out the names of the martial arts technique he is using …even if the name is longer than performing the action itself. And with names like “Dirty Old Man In Your Cleavage Headbutt” and “Smashing Pumpkin, Weezer Godsmack!”, I challenge anyone to not smile at this scene.

This Manga parodying-influence is reflected well in the artwork by fill in artist Diego Jourdan. I’m not a big fan of Manga or Manga-styled artwork but I must admit that the art DOES fit this issue. I still would rather have Vega on the title (the Bruce Lee parody cover of this issue is a kick), but I attribute that to my personal preference and not any fault of Jourdan’s craft. The book is meant to look like a Manga book with lots of action and little plot. It succeeds

No comments:

Post a Comment