Dust Wars #1


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Dust Wars #1


  • Words: Christopher "Mink" Morrison
  • Art: Davide Fabbri
  • Colors: Domenico Neziti
  • Story Title: Gunther Valley, Part One
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 3, 2010

Unfurling from artist Paolo Parente’s popular and ever-evolving RPG Dust, this first issue of the Dust Wars limited series proudly carries the flag of his sultry sci-fi world to a new a comic book audience.

The realms of comics and RPGs have intersected frequently over the years, enjoying an interesting dichotomy in their different approaches to storytelling. In RPGs, the creators focus the majority of their energies on the complexities of world building, leaving the creations of characters to the players. Comics, it could be argued, tell stories using the exact opposite method, developing fully realized characters, while providing glimpses of the worlds they inhabit and allowing the reader to fill in the blank spaces on the map.

Dust Wars represents one of the finer RPG translations achieved in comics, since DC’s surprisingly cool Dragonlance series of the late eighties, bridging the dichotomy between the different storytelling media by embracing the methods of both.

Parente enlists the talents of Christopher “Mink” Morrison, Davide Fabbri, and Domenico Neziti to adapt the universe of Dust to the graphic narrative and they do a fabulous job capturing the excitement and allure of his sexy World War II-influenced setting. Although the storytelling gets a little choppy about midway through the issue as the creators struggle to cram as much exposition into the plot without sacrificing the pace, Mink’s characterizations and the art team’s stunning illustrations more than make up for the jarring transitions and single page interludes.

Fabbri’s lines are fluid and natural, his style robust without feeling obnoxious, possibly due to the softening effect of Neziti’s gorgeous palette. Both artists combine to capture the lushness and sheer scope of Parente’s alternate Earth. The women are strong and sexy, the backgrounds lush and fully rendered. Fabbri has a well-developed eye for detail, whether he’s drawing a hulking war-suit stomping through a ruined cityscape or a pair of friends quietly peeling vegetables in a World War II-era field kitchen.

This thoughtful attention to detail is also evident in Mink’s development of his characters. Each of them possesses real motivations and unique personalities, as Mink uses period vocabulary and distinctive speech patterns to add another layer of verisimilitude to Parente’s already rich universe. He builds some interesting relationships between his protagonists, while laying the groundwork for an intriguing dynamic between his two female leads, the beautiful and courageous Commander Koshka and the nefarious Nazi killing machine Commander Sigrid Von Thaler.

Admittedly, I’ve only ever dabbled in RPGs but I’ve always admired the fullness and complexity of the fantastic worlds available to the avid gamer. Although Dust Wars likely won’t encourage me to toss the dice or play a card or thumb the power switch on a gaming console any time soon, it did tell a rousing, character-driven adventure story set in a beautifully rendered alternate universe.

That, and it has giant robots with super-sexy pin-up girls at the controls. Need I say more?

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