The Adventure Zone
July 17, 2019 10:44 AM - by Clint McElroy - Subscribe

In the second Adventure Zone graphic novel (adapted from the McElroy family's wildly popular D&D podcast), we rejoin hero-adjacent sort-of-comrades-in-arms Taako, Magnus, and Merle on a wild careen through a D&D railroad murder mystery. This installment has a little of everything: a genius child detective, an axe-wielding professional wrestler, a surly wizard, cursed magical artifacts, and a pair of meat monsters. You know, the usual things you find on a train. Hot on the heels of The...
posted by snerson (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ooh, it's good! I really love what they're doing with The Director in the book--it's all working so well.

If anyone has reviews by people who haven't listened to the podcast, please look to them! I'm really curious what it's like for those who are new to the story.
posted by meese at 12:50 PM on July 17


I went to the live show last night - they re-enacted scenes from the book, had a Q and A, and it was a blast.
posted by weed donkey at 4:19 PM on July 17


I'm glad they're changing the way The Director is characterized. In the podcast she was pretty much "This person is definitely going to turn out to be the Big Bad" so I'm glad they're showing more conflict with her.

I haven't had a chance to get a copy yet but I'm led to believe they made Decisions with regard to Garfield the Deals Warlock and I really want to know what he looks like.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:55 PM on July 17


I think Garfield the Deals Warlock is pretty much exactly how he'd have to look.

One really great thing: they kept Fantasy Costco! I was really worried they would have to change it to something else.
posted by meese at 6:59 PM on July 17


Truly, I'm impressed by Garfield the Deals Warlock. It was an unalloyed delight opening up the book and seeing how he's drawn.

I do wonder how/why they got to keep Fantasy Costco! Aren't there legal issues there? The Tom Bodett joke didn't quite make it, more's the pity.
posted by yasaman at 7:35 PM on July 17


as someone who probably won't read the books, what changes are they making with the director?
posted by JimBennett at 7:39 PM on July 17


I do wonder how/why they got to keep Fantasy Costco! Aren't there legal issues there

I imagine either they're claiming fair use (satire?) or they cleared it with Costco, who might very much be happy to have the free advertising.
posted by axiom at 8:52 PM on July 17


what changes are they making with the director?

You get to see her reactions when Tres Horny Boys aren't there, so some more foreshadowing and deepening of her character than we originally got in the podcast, where she was mostly there to deliver exposition and missions in the beginning.
posted by yasaman at 10:27 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


There's also a moment where Taako gets angry and suspicious with The Director, which does a lot to set up what will come later.

Also, she sputters a bit when she sees the umbrella. She gets the line, "Taako, where did you find that?" Which I really hope doesn't mean they'll be cutting out the but where the Red Robe says that.
posted by meese at 2:26 AM on July 18


I loved this. I laughed so much at jokes that may or may not have been there in the podcast (like "Letterman's Gap"), which I last listened to at least two years ago. Jenkins was a total delight. I like how Carey designs the villain's leering faces -- this one has a lot in common with Magic Brian. And I was delighted by the extra character development scenes.

Something I wonder about is how they will deal -- if they get a chance, and I hope they do -- with Kravitz. Four goofballs taking liberties with Lenny Kravitz's name and image for a D&D character might be beneath his notice, but an NYT bestseller is something else. But the story wouldn't be complete without him.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:31 AM on July 18


(also it would be hilarious to me if, in the comic, Taako cast a glamour on his goofy, pointy sprite form for the benefit of Kravitz and no one else)
posted by Countess Elena at 7:59 AM on July 18


I do have to say, I was really disappointed they didn't have a full town of Thomas clones.

I get not calling him Tom Bodet, I can live with that. But I really, really loved the idea that the whole town was just Bodet clones.
posted by meese at 10:24 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


The arc that finally got me into the podcast! I'm stoked.

Haven't had a chance to really sit down and read this yet, but I already love how Pietsch drew Jenkins, from the tiny little spectacles to the extra facial room for scowling.
posted by rather be jorting at 4:03 PM on July 18


Hey, fun fact? I actually had no idea Kravitz was a Lenny Kravitz goof until this exact moment.

A lot of fanart makes more sense now.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:02 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I spent like half the book wondering who Jenkins reminded me of, until it hit me: the Grinch! Carey Pietsch draws Jenkins with a Grinch-like sneer and scowl.
posted by yasaman at 5:08 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


I actually think Kravitz was named after a listener in Twitter? But the fanart definitely got inspired by Lenny.
posted by meese at 5:09 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Last TAZ GN thread, I mostly hollered about character designs, and folks, I'm here to reprise.

Angus McDonald -- pitch perfect. I'm really glad Carey is leaning into fanart designs (I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally saw Lucretia last volume) and oof is Ango McDango a cutie pie. We'd better get the books up to at LEAST Crystal Kingdom so we can see him back, and a little older, too! And Kravitz of course.

Lord Artemis Sterling is a punk ass kid??? During the Suffering Game I pictured him as like... middle-aged.

Garfield the Deals Warlock *jumps up and down with glee*

Jess the Beheader... has armpit hair. I'm never going to stop screaming about female characters with visible armpit hair y'all. Also, her bromance with Magnus? So good!

I kiiiinda wish they'd played it straight with Taako's expressions during the gashapon scene. Justin's sincere deadpan during those bits always has me on the floor. But perhaps the joke would have been too inobvious in comic form without the smirks.
posted by snerson at 6:47 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


The armpit hair AND THE BEARD! I'm in love.
posted by meese at 8:10 PM on July 19


There's a cutely bullet-pointed reference to the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch in one of the mini explanatory notes and I am so pleased
posted by rather be jorting at 9:44 PM on July 20


Now that I've re-listened to the Rockport arc, it strikes me that I never really thought of Magnus as being severely injured or near death at all at any point, until seeing the depictions in the comic. I tend not to have great listening comprehension for audio-only media so I'm wondering if this is because I still haven't really fully paid attention to what was going on in between the banter and goofs? Perhaps removing the in-between-plot-points banter and goofs emphasizes greater narrative stakes that were previously buffered by the extra humor.

It kinda worried me for a sec, seeing Taako and Merle in the GN look so worried about Magnus's injuries! (But I've heard all of the Balance episodes, so I knew he'd be ok.) But it also emphasized another plus of seeing the podcast translated and adapted for the comic medium - I can actually follow along with the story the boys are telling, without having to check the wiki summaries over and over. Woo!
posted by rather be jorting at 10:17 AM on July 22


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