Monday, February 10, 2014

Review and Commentary On DC Comics Warlords Graphic Novel For Your Old School Sword and Sorcery Campaigns

Way back when DC first got into doing 80's style slick 'Graphic Novels' on of their first attempts into that market was the graphic novel Warlords.  This is an old school sword and sorcery graphic from 1983 done when DC/Atari had formed an alliance for comics. Warlords is by Steve Skeates as writer and the artwork is David Wenzel.  
Warlords concerns the troll Dwayne whose a classic amoral OD&D thief, con artist, and not a character that I actually like at all. The setting is a typical pseudo Dark Ages Europe, this comic dates from a time when maps were in the back or front of every fantasy even some science fantasy novels as well. Back to Dwayne who is awakened to act as a guide for an army of one of four brothers. The Warlords of the story so to speak. Each brother embodies a certain characteristic, his kingdom, tactics, abilities,etc. all reflect traces of  a piece of a magical amulet that they own.
King Restivo has the kingdom of wonders and has a scientific genius working for him
 Dom The Picious uses the power of dogma and religion namely HIS own to enslave and build his own state run religious kingdom.
Marcus The Wizard King - Marcus is a wizard of high level with a nasty streak a mile wide and the cause of much of the action.
King Philip is the youngest of the brothers and is a paladin of high degree who ends up Dwayne's half giant friend Bertem. The troll leaves his partner in crime high and dry with some really nasty characters. Seriously throughout the book I wanted to punch the troll repeatedly. 
The artwork is very well done but the characters began to get on my last nerve. Especially the troll. The kingdom of trolls is a sort of stand in for hobbits, fey, etc. little peoples but Dwayne is a true neutral evil kinda being with tendencies toward profit. I found him really an annoying part of the comic. 

There are lots of good ideas lurking in the background such as the four sides of the brothers vs one another. They were like a bunch of low level 'evil' adventurers given kingdoms and a bit of magical power. 
The map was quite nice and useful if a DM wants  to build in a new set of rulers, background and creatures. The Trolls had some really interesting ideas to them but they were hardly fleshed out and needed a bit more Old School hardcore to make them truly memorable. 

I know that this graphic was written as a comedic affair and the artwork is well done. The story is concise, well written, and the artwork is solid but the troll made me want to kill him as a DM. Repeatedly. If you can pick this one up for a buck or fifty cents then do so. 


  1. Interesting. I missed this one back in the day. I'll have to seek it out.

  2. Don't pay too much for it but its an interesting read that's for sure.

  3. I never saw the comic, but I played the heck out of the game.

  4. I saw the game back when I was a kid but the comic has recently come back up in the stacks. More coming up Fractalbat!