SwordQuest #0 (Dynamite)

CREDIT: Dynamite

Rating: 5/5 – There’s So Much More than Just Video Games!
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

SwordQuest is one of those comics that come out of nowhere and surprised me in both delivering a story that I just didn’t expect, and exceeding my expectations in almost every single way. To be honest, I don’t read too many Dynamite comics and when I saw the price of this book being just twenty-five cents, I decided to try it and I’m so happy I did. In looking at the cover, it has the Atari logo gracing the upper left hand corner with a sword that along with the title, lets you know this is clearly in the realm of fantasy. I expected a story that picked up where some old video game tale left off, or a re-imagining of some game that intends to invoke some nostalgia. It’s actually the exact opposite!

The story of SwordQuest is tied to video games, but the story outside of the actual games is what writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims have introduced to us so far in this zero issue. In the 1980s, Atari planned to release a series of games called SwordQuest, and each of those releases would have an accompanying comic book where fans could decipher clues that were hidden within the games and pages of the comics. If deciphered, fans could win some really elaborate prizes. And when I say elaborate, we’re talking about an 18kt solid gold talisman, a jewel covered crown, and finally, a sword that had a silver blade with a hilt encrusted with diamonds, emeralds, and more valued at over fifty-thousand dollars! Times were obviously pretty good at Atari in the early 1980s, but those good times didn’t last and ultimately that sword and the final games never saw the light of day. There’s more to this story, but it’s that old contest that Bowers and Sims are exploring in this series.

We meet main character Peter Case, who as a kid played the SwordQuest games and wanted to win that bejeweled sword and now as an adult has decided to pursue the quest again. It’s a brilliant setup that I cannot wait to read more of. The art by Ghostwriter K seems to be a perfect fit for the material and the afterword made me jump on the internet to read more of this true story, before deciding to stop and see how this plays out in the pages of this comic. As a side note, I also searched for the back issues online and found that my go-to source MyComicShop.com didn’t have them and I’d have to pay a premium on eBay, but I may eventually break down and pay eBay prices since I’m so interested in this story within the story. I can’t recommend this issue enough. It’s the first true “surprise” hit for me in 2017!   At 25 cents a copy, don’t pass it up…this is a must buy.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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