Pathfinder: City of Secrets #2 starts with a bit of a bait and switch. See, last issue ended with a group of thugs stupidly deciding to ambush Kyra and Merisiel. So while this issue begins with our heroes delivering the righteous beatdown we were all expecting, it ends rather quickly…
Running an RPG with evil characters tends to be difficult. While it’s perfectly possible for players to create complex evil characters (and I’ve seen it done at my table before), they just as frequently interpret the “E” in their alignment block as a reason to maim and kill every NPC they come across.
The Pathfinder RPG is trying its hand at an evil game with the release of the Hell’s Vengeance adventure path that kicks off this month. Personally, the next time I run a game with evil PCs, I’ll probably hit my comics collection for inspiration. Specifically, the John Ostrander-written Suicide Squad title that launched in 1987 is one of the best examples of a story that made the audience cheer for the bad guys.
Following the conclusion of its first volume, the Pathfinder comic series went on a six-month hiatus. Then it returned in new, relaunched glory as Pathfinder: City of Secrets. The book reemerged with Leandro Oliveira providing better art than ever before and Jim Zub and his stable of fantasy RPG tropes returning to writing duties.
I’m not a huge fan of the constant relaunches that dominate the comic book industry, but Dynamite handles it better than mainstream companies like Marvel and DC. Specifically, there feels like a reason the reboot is happening. The last volume focused on our heroes’ adventures around the small town of Sandpoint. Now with some experience under their belt, they’re off to a new city. That means a new environment, a new style of adventure, and thus a new volume. Yes, sales still drive the idea of a relaunch, but in this case it really feels like our heroes are embarking upon a new chapter of their lives.
In the modern comics industry, you can’t go a single month without an issue that claims it “changes everything” and that “nothing will ever be the same.” It’s been a long time since those claims were true. Way back in 1940, though, there really was a Superman story that changed everything: “The K-Metal from Krypton.”
Superman #8 is notable for several reasons. It introduced K-Metal, a mineral from Krypton which rendered Superman powerless and which predates kryptonite. It made the groundbreaking decision to have Superman reveal his identity to Lois Lane. Finally, it was a rare issue written by Superman creator Jerry Siegel that DC chose never to publish.
That’s right – this daring, groundbreaking story that would have changed the Superman mythos forever never saw the light of day. It remained forgotten in the DC archives until Mark Waid came across the original script and story outline in 1988, almost half a century after it was supposed to be published.
Even with more than 1,500 monsters in the various Pathfinder bestiaries, there’s still no monster more iconic than a dragon. So it was only a matter of time until the Pathfindercomic series broke out a dragon fight. You would expect such a fight to be the climax of a story arc, but we’re only midway through. So what’s going on?
Being an adventurer requires a certain lack of common sense. Even those with an 18 Wisdom need to be stupid enough to charge into a dragon’s lair from time to time. As we open Pathfinder #8, that’s exactly what our heroes intend to do.
Pathfinder #7 kicks off a new story arc that gets our heroes off to a very different start than the previous tale. Instead of outsiders thrust into a dangerous adventure, they are now heroes of Sandpoint.