I’ve never played a game of Gloomhaven. I’ve heard good things about the legacy dungeon crawler but it’s a commitment I don’t have time for. Beyond the fantasy setting, I know little of the world and after reading Gloomhaven: Fallen Lion, I’m not sure I know all that much.
Welcome to the City of Gloomhaven. A city we don’t get to see much of as a lot of the comic takes place within a bar. The Jaws of the Lion are a the top of the hierarchy of the city, but their latest job goes sideways. Gloomhaven: Fallen Lion takes us through the group’s adventure in segments told from a different member’s perspective.
I’m not sure if it was high-hopes for a new comic series based on a board game or the interest in a “new” property being expanded to comics, but the potential of the debut issue feels squandered. Gloomhaven: Fallen Lion is one that feels more focused on fans of the property than an introduction to that property for all, that also is entertaining for fans.
Written by Travis Mcintire, the comic has a fine concept, a band of adventurers talking about a job gone wrong. But, there’s little setup and little to make us care about the characters. The adventure is just that, a fairly generic adventure with a different set of characters. We’re not given much background on any them, their powers, race, really anything. Unless you know the world or the specific characters, it all feels a bit lost. There’s some personality in each but beyond one’s unique dialogue they’re all pretty basic fantasy characters with a different look.
The teaser text for the comic hinted at punk bands, drug dealing street gangs, and a dark God sleeping underneath the city. None of that’s really here at all. There’s some things danced around but as far as the city, we see the inside of a bar and the direct outside of it again leaving us with a very generic premise of a comic.
With art by Tyler Sowles and lettering by Justin Birch, the art too is interesting but doesn’t quite click for me. The design, class, and race of the characters are something that appealed to me. But the action itself felt a little lackluster and the scenes within the tavern outright boring. With a story that doesn’t give much background about the characters, the art needed to deliver a bit more to clue readers in. Birch’s lettering stands out a bit for its unique style concerning one character made of bugs. That was the most intriguing design of the entire comic.
Gloomhaven: Fallen Lion had a lot of potential as a comic. Something different such as an introduction to the game and its elements might have stood out. But, as presented, this is a pretty boring presentation of the world and its characters. Any interesting elements feel sucked out leaving us with a generic fantasy story that’s been done so much better elsewhere.
Gloomhaven created by Isaac Childres
Story: Travis Mcintire Art: Tyler Sowles Letterer: Justin Birch
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read
Source Point Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review