Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1 (Comics Review)

Back in 2012 Dynamite Entertainment began publishing Pathfinder comics, based on the popular RPG of the same name. After a straight run of some 12 issues, it seems that the publisher is still committed to the franchise overall since just a couple weeks back we got the first sequel to that series, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1. I remember reading the first couple issues of Pathfinder back in December 2012, but don’t really remember much. Possibly because I read them late at night after a long day at work. But I remember that the characters were kind of fun and so was the world.

And that’s why I jumped on Pathfinder: City of Secrets #1. It is billed as a good jumping-on point for Jim Zub’s Pathfinder comics and that’s what I was looking for. It also helps that given Jim’s recent work on IDW’s Samurai Jack, another tie-in comic, I was quite predisposed to reading more by him and while the newest comic isn’t quite on the same level as what I’m most familiar with, it still manages to be intriguing and fun. The art is a bit iffy however, and as the series progresses, I’m hoping that this element is improved upon so that the overall cohesion is that much better.

Pathfinder - City of Secrets 001

The story follows on from the previous Pathfinder series and it has the heroes Seoni, Valeros, Harsk, Ezren, Merisiel and Kyra arrive in the grand port-city of Magnimar to rest and recuperate from their recent adventures. They all have business of one sort or another in the city and soon as they spend some much-needed night’s rest in one of the inns, they head off to their own work. Soon however, they get drawn into a murder investigation and that’s when the stakes begin to increase and the story gets really good.

As much as I’m a fan of Jim’s work, I didn’t like this particular so much. It is fairly decent and the characters and setting are quite interesting, but the dialogue always felt off, in that the characters were saying what they are supposed to say rather than what they wanted to say. That plus Seoni comes off as a bit pushy and controlling. It kind of makes sense since she’s the leader of this group, but Jim goes a bit overboard in that direction and Seoni just didn’t impress me all that much.

However, Merisiel and Kyra did interest me a great deal, partly because it seemed as if they were more than friends, even lovers perhaps. If that is indeed how this subplot is going to play out, then I’ll be very satisfied and I’m hoping that Jim is able to do their portrayals justice because that kind of a relationship just doesn’t exist in comics to quite the level that it should. It speaks for diversity and I’m all for that.

Ezren and Harsk interested me as well, especially the former when he has a meeting with the Venture-Captain of the local Pathfinder lodge. Jim teases out his story in very small bits, and I have to say that I am well and truly hooked. Which is not a state of things that I mind, not at all.

There are some good mysteries being set up in this issue, and I can’t wait to see where they all head-off. I would love to see more, quite frankly.

The cover here is by Genzoman, and unfortunately, it makes my case for me as far as the internal art is concerned, which is done by Leandro Oliviera. And the problem is that the characters have unrealistic dimensions. I mean, just look at Seoni’s arms and torso compared to her massive legs and her humongous boot. It is just not natural. In the internal artwork, this problem pipes up again and again and goes for all the heroes. It is distracting and takes away from the entire experience. However, the colours were quite nicely done, handled by Ross Campbell. There’s a bit of overall roughness to the artwork but since the cliffhanger was a good one, I didn’t mind these deficiencies all that much, though I would love to see improvements over the next couple issues.

A good start, I think.

Rating: 8/10

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