Comic: "Forgotten Realms - Starless Night #1"
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Written by: Andrew Dabb (script)
Artist: Juanfran Moyano

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 2/9/2009

Plot: Drizzt Do’Urden, the drow elf who turned his back on the murderous ways of his brethren, is mourning the loss of his friend, Wulfgar. In order to keep the rest of his friends from harm, he decides to secretly return to Menzoberranzan, the capital city of the drow. Meanwhile, the drow plan their assault on the dwarven stronghold of Mithril Hall.

Review: Back in high school, I was all about R.A. Salvatore and books about a certain brooding dark elf struggling to get out from under his dark heritage. And now, we have a new version of some of the stories for those who have neither the time, nor the attention span, to enjoy a full-length novel.

For fans of the Drizzt franchise, the comic will seem like a refresher course. You may not have remembered the names of all the different drow houses in Menzoberranzan, but you’ll still remember the key players involved. Obviously, events will unfold a bit faster than you remember due to this being a three-issue run, but you won’t have that much trouble keeping up.

The same can’t be said for the uninitiated. If you have no idea who it is that you see on the cover, then prepare to be buried under an avalanche of information. This first issue has the unenviable task of both presenting the storyline, and catching up all the new readers. For you average comic book fare, this is as simple as putting a quick blurb on the first page: Reed Richards and his three friends got irradiated in space, and now they have fantastic powers. But when each new page presents a reference to something from an earlier novel, things can get confusing in a hurry.

And it doesn’t help that the story jumps around a lot. Novels have the luxury of parsing out events in the form of chapters. In order to get that same amount of detail into the comics, you’ll see as few as two pages in a row devoted to one part of the story, followed by a sudden transition to another seemingly unrelated part of the story, followed just as suddenly by a return to the previous scene, only slightly further along.

Art-wise, there’s not too much to complain about. My only gripe is that a number of the character faces in the comic look flat and unremarkable. It seems odd considering Moyano put a decent amount of detail into some of the faces, but others, particularly younger women, may show only a single line or two when twisted up in anger.

The bottom line is that fans of the series will likely get a lot more out of this comic than newcomers. Then again, those same fans will probably still prefer the novels over the greatly-condensed comic versions. I guess, then, that the real purpose here is to draw in those readers who are looking for some R.A. Salvatore cliff notes before they dive into the original books. If that sounds like you, then enjoy!

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Last of the Time Lords
Feb 10th, 2009, 10:03 AM
I love D&D, but I have to admit I've never been a huge fan of Drizzt. I know there's a big difference between being a cliche, and being the guy who inspired the cliche, but the simple fact is I've seen way to many characters who wanted to be Drizzt Do'Urden to appreciate the real one.
Ba dum dum dum dum
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:10 PM
Never been a fan of Drizzt. Though it may trace to my preference for Dwarves over Elves (Go Gotrek and Felix!) I think it really boils down to everything I've ever read of him made him so boringly perfect.

The only good member of his race! An unbeatable swordsman! Powerful Artifacts! I just can't get that much into a fantasy character who doesn't ever seem to bleed.
Feb 10th, 2009, 04:12 PM
This looked interesting enough to pick up. Just weird sometimes when for years you have pictures in your mind of what each character looks like and then they ink them up and they're different.
Feb 11th, 2009, 12:26 AM
Well, one good thing for the confused is that they've also done the earlier novels (Dark Elf trilogy, Icewind Dale trilogy, etc) so those can be found as well. I've been picking these up and enjoying them quite a bit, actually. Though they are, as Dr. Boogie said, more like cliffs notes. If that gets people interested in reading the books though, mores the better if you ask me.

And I am a Drizzt fangirl. Could have something to do with the then boyfriend at the time getting me a Gwen statue for Valentine's Day (ah, gamer geek presents...)and the books, with the note "Read them to find out her name." Yes, Drizzt himself has been copycatted to death, but there's also something about the Drow in general that I like, both as a reader and a DM.
Feb 11th, 2009, 02:07 AM
Ex-boyfriend you say? Valentines day is coming up. Sounds like you need something new.
Feb 11th, 2009, 06:47 PM
Maybe I should read up on this series.
Feb 12th, 2009, 12:55 PM
I always kinda found the R.A. Salvator Forgotten Realms books to be decent but never great. They stand on there own but compared to the original Dragonlance Chronicles they were meh.
Sex Panther
Feb 12th, 2009, 08:08 PM
Why do all these fantasy comics/books/movies have characters with ungodly unpronoucable names? WHY?
Feb 12th, 2009, 08:39 PM
I wouldn't be able to get behind a group of fantasy character's named Billy Timmy and Jeff.
Feb 12th, 2009, 11:26 PM
To Ghost: Actually, said present was several years ago and he and I parted on very good terms, actually. This V-Day, I'm single and quite content with that fact.
Sex Panther
Feb 14th, 2009, 03:42 PM
@ Ghost-

Actually I would find the story more entertaining if the main character was named JimBob instead of K'thardalg.
Turrican't. :(
Feb 15th, 2009, 10:48 AM

Blech. ¬_¬
Feb 15th, 2009, 11:22 PM
I have no time for your racism here.
The Ugly Puckling
Feb 16th, 2009, 10:08 AM
I prefer gibberish names to fake Indian names, Drizz't or Swiftrunner?

One thing that does bother me though is when all the characters have these elaborate fictional ethnic names and then the women (typically only the non-evil ones, evil ones get gibberish too) pop up and have names like Gwen, Marian, or if they're feeling adventurous, the name of a month. I get that they don't want to have someone like Drizz't pining for Ur'Ba'Danoth or Dud'e'lon Mc'Manlo've but they could use the standard English feminine details and make up fitting names.

Drizz't eventually starts shacking up with a Katie, how silly is that?

Aluria and its offspring doesn't count because they're just the word Allure spelled wrong.