Quests Aside #1 Review: Great Job
With a healthy balance of humor and character development, Quests Aside #1 does a great job of showing the contrast between the realities of capitalism and the supernatural elements of fantasy storytelling. Setting this in possibly the most common setting for fantasies in space or in medieval times — a tavern — makes this an easy fit.
Barrow was once an adventurer — a hero for hire who might also set aside his financial needs in service to the world. After retiring from a distinguished career ("They say Barrow's been cursed more than anyone alive"), even battling alongside the pre-crown king, Barrow settled down to open a tavern of his own called Quests Aside, where he hired an eclectic crew of misfits and created a safe space for them all … or so he thought. There are a number of wonderful plot threads that resolve in a clever way (if you've been following Cyclonus in the recent Transformers books, you'll love one bit here). Brian Schirmer's script delivers a clear sense of each character's voice and perspective, including an orc stand-up comedian with jokes that will make dads everywhere squeal with delight. Imagine a more whimsical version of Top 10, and you'll have a sense of the ensemble work here.
The visual storytelling from Elena Gogou, Rebecca Nalty, and Andworld Design has great uses of facial expressions, moments of silence, and body language to communicate a lot of narratives, with fun details like a bard delivering in a different font while strumming a decidedly rock and roll looking lute. The living cleaver wielded by the undead skeleton cook is also hilarious.
There's quite a lot to like here and a fully realized world established in just this first issue. This issue is a lot of fun and a great choice, even if you're not ready to bring out a big bag of dice. RATING: BUY.
Quests Aside #1
By Brian Schirmer, Elena Gogou
A skeleton, an apprentice mage, and an exiled princess walk into a bar for another shift at Quests Aside, the local watering hole run by once legendary, now retired adventurer Barrow. When the King privately explains that he plans to shut the place down, Barrow must find a way to hold onto his business and the family he's built around it. It's always sunny in the realms!