Comic Review: PATHFINDER – ORIGINS #1

PATHFINDER - ORIGINS #1/ Script by ERIK MONA /Art by TOM GARCIA/ Colors by MOHAN / Letters by MARSHALL DILLON / Published by DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
PATHFINDER – ORIGINS #1/ Script by ERIK MONA/ Art by TOM GARCIA/ Colors by MOHAN/ Letters by MARSHALL DILLON/ Published by DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

Golarion is a world of magic. A world of danger. But also a world of wealth and glory for those brave enough to seek them out. And of all the adventurers who roam Golarion, none are so famous as The Pathfinder Society.

A guild of explorers and wanderers, The Pathfinder Society is strict in their edicts and selective in their recruitment. While any are welcome to attempt to join the society, only full Pathfinders are allowed all the benefits of membership… including access to the guild libraries and news of the rarest treasures and most thrilling assignments!

It is these benefits that have brought Ezren – journeyman Pathfinder and wizard – to the local Pathfinder Society lodge along with his companions. Yet despite the good service they have done the city in fighting the evil shape-shifters who plague it, the local lodge leader is reluctant to give Ezren and his comrades access the guild’s map room.  This is due not only to their group only having one Pathfinder among them but also what other agents have reported regarding Ezren’s friends!

Unwilling to let the words of others stand against him without being allowed to speak on his own behalf, the mercenary fighter Valeros offers to speak of his recent adventurers before he fell in with his current adventuring party.  What follows is a tale of daring-do and dark magics and how Valeros made the acquaintance of a Northwoman named Amiri, who had her own strange tale…

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The Pathfinder Role Playing Game has grown rapidly in popularity since its first publication in 2009, surpassing Dungeons and Dragons as the most popular pen-and-paper RPG in existence. This has led to the series inspiring original fiction based on its world, much as D&D did in years past, and the creation of Pathfinder: Origins.

Fans of the original game will find a lot to enjoy about this series, as references are made to the world of Golarion and the iconic heroes used as examples for the game’s many races and classes.  Small wonder given that this issue was written by Erik Mona – head publisher for Paizo Publishing, who created the Pathfinder RPG!

Thankfully, those who are unfamiliar with the setting will find Pathfinder: Origins a welcome entry point into the world of Golarion.  Mona’s script – while heavy on mythology – is easily accessible while still being full of details that will please fans of the original game. One could compare this issue – and quite likely the entire series to follow – to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in terms of form and function. It is an oddity, however, that we learn more of the barbarian Amiri’s past than we do of the warrior Valeros, despite this chapter bearing his name.

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The artwork matches the script in quality.  Artist Tom Garcia fits an amazingly intricate amount of detail into each panel of this issue, with the characters all having distinctive designs and unique faces. The lettering by Marshall Dillion is wonderful, with unique styles being used for the dialogue balloons and the narrator caption boxes.  The only real weak point is the colors by Mohan, which seem surprisingly muted and dull for such a high-adventure comic.

While well-crafted, this comic is unlikely to win over anyone who is not already a fan of the genre.  Still, it stands as a fine example of a high-quality fantasy comic series.  So sword-and-sorcery enthusiasts as well as comic-reading role-players would do well to give Pathfinder: Origins a try.

Rating 4

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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