Christmas Toy Tie-ins:
Diablo III #1
All cut scene before the story, this issue doesn’t go far enough
"Sword of Justice”
Writer – Arron Williams
Art and Colors– Joseph Lacroix and Dave Stewart
Letters – Saida Temofonte
Editor – Michael Mccalister
I have been a HUGE fan of the Diablo series of computer games since the first one came out. I thoroughly enjoyed hacking up the demons, devils, and prime evils that threatened medieval humanity while clicking several mice in to oblivion. I made it through all the first two games and a majority of the second, only stopping once I ran out of the dread “free time” as happens to adults who work and raise kids.
The games are isometric perspective shooters, which basically means your camera is above your character and slightly angled, so you see everything around them. Which is a good thing because the creatures of hell can come from any direction and you’ve got to be ready to take them down.
And break pottery.
And scavenge better armor, rings, and weapons. And later to make those arms and armor grow in power by inserting more bling than a late-80’s housewife with a Bedazzler.
All in an effort to defeat the ultimate evil Diablo or…uh, his brother Bhaal, the OTHER ultimate evil from loosing hell on Earth. Oh, and you save some people on the way too.
The games are easy to learn and fun to waste time with. They have lots of replay value given that the environments are randomized, meaning playing through a second time will result in different maps with the objectives of quests a surprise.
Plus, there few things as satisfying as making a demon go splat. I love all the character classes but the sorcerer/sorceress character has always been a favorite as he sends out little lighting bursts that travel along the ground and electrocute any bad guys around him.
So as an avowed fan, I have to admit a bit of dismay with this opening issue of the limited five issue series Diablo III. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. The story is all background into our main character and some setting information, but I’ll be honest in stating that I wanted to see some catacomb crawling and demon fighting. What I got was something far different.
We begin with a street beggar retelling the creation of the world called Sanctuary…
…and the defeat of the prime evils, yet leaving out the parts that I remember playing through in Diablos one and two. I picture this more like a cut scene informing you of important people (like Tyrael and the angels) and things you will encounter over the course of these issues. As he wraps up explaining about that pesky crystal you’ve encountered in each game that has been corrupted and is now a portal to the ancient evils…
…this young disguised noble tells him to get his tale of Arreat right. Bahrim the storyteller in return grabs the young man and surprises him by knowing his name and his regal birth.
The old man is a seer and Jacob asks him the question you always ask a prophet who is living in poor conditions:
So, Jacob does has the beggar Bahrim dictates, which given his duplicity with picking Jacob’s pockets, might be a mistake. As Jason heads out of the city to find his fate in the desert wastes…
…the beggar/prophet takes Jacob’s short sword to sell at the bazar of Kahrina the Trainer.
Kahrina appears to rebuff his hopes of a high payout due to his frequently leading ruffians to her door in search of his ill-gotten loot.
Only this time they appear to have beaten the storyteller in arriving.
And with the information provided by the (potentially) dead prophet, the bad-guy officer and his archer second set out after Jacob across the desert wastes.
Jacob has quite a head start on them, but it looks as if he is going nowhere.
But he isn’t, as the next page shows him arriving at the spot where the sword has come to rest in the prophecy.
Upon reaching the base of the mountain, Jacob encounters a mysterious sorceress who doesn’t speak (or shoot cool lightening bolts that run along the ground) but conjures water from the dirt. Also there is a cave opening that Jacob simply must explore…
Which leads to him finding the sword exactly where Tyrael is supposed to have plunged it into the ground...
And decorating the walls appear to be scenes from Jacobs own life…
...which puts us into flashback territory, beginning with that time that his friend and him snuck out to join a battle against the ice barbarians.
Which leads to Ivan getting his spear taking from him…
…by the biggest, baddest ice barbarian chieftain ever.
Who, when told by Jacob to spare his friend under his protection as son of the constable, sends a message that Jacob won’t soon forget.
And creates a rift between him and his father…
…that is widened when his father must ask for his son to stand by as his mother is beheaded for conspiring with the barbarians…
…leading to a fateful physical confrontation between the two, which we know must mean his father’s death and his fugitive status. It’s an event we don’t see, but know is coming.
Sadly, the issue feels the need to tell us far too much backstory. Where are the prime evils and their awful crystal of doom? Why are we spending so much time on backstories, when what we came for is lightening bold demon fighting?
For me the issue promises one thing while delivering another. And while that second thing (a decent fantasy story) isn’t bad, I’m really looking for some devil-killing.
Or a talking man cow. Whichever works best.