One of Jim Zub’s many new projects this year, Pathfinder: City of Secrets is also a continuation of his earlier run on Pathfinder for Dynamite, if I’m not mistaken. I haven’t read that previous series, but the new one has definitely managed to capture my attention since despite some of the stumbles of the first two issues, I’ve managed to stay current month after month. Pathfinder is primarily an RPG tabletop gaming setting, but with Jim’s comics, the setting has gained a different perspective altogether and the stories so far have definitely been quite interesting..
The first couple issues of Pathfinder: City of Secrets did a lot of work in establishing the characters and the setting. Some of it didn’t work out as well as I’d expected, but I won’t deny that the story did draw me in. Jim Zub’s adventurers are a fun lot to be with and given that each of them is a very distinct and unique individual, their shared adventures really do stand out as well. In the city of Magnimar for a lay-off from their adventures, the heroes get drawn into a big mystery that gains steam in the third issue and then ends, for the time being, in this week’s sixth issue. The story has steadily gotten better, and so has the artwork as well.
The really fun thing about these four issues is how Jim draws out the mystery of all the recent murders and other nefarious ongoings in Magnimar. The heroes uncover a nest of the villains, they get ambushed by dangerous assassins, fight incredible monsters, and have their faith and trust in each other tested to their limits. It is a pretty fun story, far more epic than it seemed to be from the start. I’d expected to see something… trivial when the series started out, but Jim beat those expectations down and told a fun story involving all these characters.
And it is not just the heroes themselves we get to see so much of but also the secondary characters, such as the guard captain of the city and the local leader of the Pathfinders, both of them women. With Merisiel and Kyra already a part of the team, and then Kasadei and Sheila Heidmarch thrown in as well, this series has turned out quite positively for the female characters. I loved seeing the romantic relationship between Kyra and Meris most of all. It isn’t something you are so likely to see in comics, but the fact that we do, and so unreservedly as well, it gives me hope.
Most of all, the sixth issue brings things to a very satisfying close. The fifth issue had this really great action sequence that I didn’t think could be topped, but then Jim went and did exactly that in the sixth issue. This is where everything that the heroes have faced till now comes to a head as they finally confront the big bad, and it almost glorious in its execution. Right from the start this is a damn good issue, with all the subplots that Jim introduced previously in the series getting handily resolved.
And I liked that, you know. There are some minor things left unresolved, but that’s fine with me since Jim answered the burning questions. He leaves some things open for the future arcs, and that too is fine with me since I’ve enjoyed the series up until this point and I am keen to see more as well. And truth be told, this series now really makes me want to go back and get through the previous series, which ran for a handy 12 issues or so I believe.
The artist here is still Leandro Oliveira with Ross A. Campbell on the colours, Marshal Dillon on the letters and Genzoman on the covers. If you take a look at the art throughout the four issues, you get to see how it improves month by month. Where the first two issues often seemed a bit rough and heavy on the brushstrokes and inks, by the sixth issue most of it is smoothed out with the sixth issue being the best by far. There have been steady improvements on the art for sure, and the sixth issue exemplifies it. The balance of brushstrokes and inks and colours is pretty much perfect in it.
Let’s bring on the next one!