A group of adventurers has gathered to begin their next quest, but first they regale their quest giver with their credentials. Is it good?
Pathfinder: Origins #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
The premise for the origin story of Valeros feels too forced. Writer Erik Mona creates a scenario where a group of adventurers has already accomplished what appears to be a great feat in defeating The Gallowed Gang, but they are forced to defend themselves when attempting to obtain another job. The quest giver points out all of their flaws and why they are not fit to be given a quest.
After about two pages, (which feel a lot longer due to the large amounts of dialogue), you finally get to the origin of Valeros. He is a typical mercenary who likes to enjoy his cups a little too much. Unfortunately, this gives Mona a perfect excuse to utilize the all too often used cliché of finding a job in the local tavern. It is livened up a bit with a bit of action, but you have to suspend disbelief quite a bit when the folks trying to hire him are set upon by demons.
The action sequence by Tom Garcia has too many tiny errors to ignore. At one point the sword slicing one of the attackers in half appears to shrink significantly in width as it is coming out the other side. Characters appear out of nowhere to save the day or happen to disappear altogether to progress the combat, never mind the fact they would have been in the way of a sword stroke if they hadn’t conveniently performed an invisibility trick.
Garcia does create a rather rich world from the snowy capped mountains of the Six Bears Tribe to ancient temples in the middle of jungles and massive libraries in large urban cities. The backgrounds are able to depict the length of the caravan journey.
There is some interesting character development; however it does not concern Valeros, who is a pretty one-dimensional character. Amiri, a warrior woman from the Six Bears Tribe, has her own origin story embedded within Valeros’. She is strong-willed and determined. She is an overachiever outdoing her fellow tribesmen in any contest whether hunting or combat.
The plot was rather predictable including the two twists you saw coming from a mile away. It was standard fare for any MMORPG on the market today when it comes to quest scripts. Mona spends a ton of time detailing every nuance and explaining a ton of the history with the world whether it is the origin of cultists, a battle between the caravan and bugbears, or explaining one of the plot twists through dialogue. He adds 15 words that could have been accomplished in less and helped the pacing of the book, which is bogged down in all of the unnecessary exposition and dialogue.
Is It Good?
Pathfinder: Origins #1 struggles to find its footing, being encumbered with a lot of exposition in both narrative and dialogue. The main character is rather weak and one-dimensional although Amiri is a bright spot challenging those above her with her ambition. The artwork is underwhelming especially in the action sequences where characters would appear and disappear in order to have the fight work in the favor of the heroes. However, Garcia does capture the rich world with numerous backdrops. The plot is also one-dimensional and the twists are seen from 30,000 feet in the air.
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