I thought I was going to love Scales & Scoundrels Volume 1: Into the Dragon’s Maw. The cover looks funny and has some interesting looking characters. However, from page one I disliked Luvander. I was shocked (yes, my biased showed through) that Luvander is female. The way they introduce her, she has typical scoundrel qualities that in graphic novels stereotypically lends itself to a young male character.
But the fact she is a she was introduced very casually. The other players of a very Dungeons and Dragons like game (cue major plot point) are convinced she has cheated and say that they will not be cheated by “her” in various slurs and comments. However, this is a PG book. She is call a “she-devil” and not the more forceful “B” word. They do not use slang for excrement (yes, they used excrement).
There are some good points. (Spoiler) I liked most of the humor and how they fought a demon at the end was interesting. And while I wish the dwarf was a little braver and less the “sidekick” role, seeing a non-traditional looking female is nice (red hair and has some size to her, mostly due to the fact she is a Dwarf, but still she is not as skinny as the other two females). Also, a mix of races is nice. Plus, not all people being human makes it believable to be magical. There are a few stereotypes (the prince needs to smarten up, the bodyguard is way too loyal, the highway men are chauvinistic and not the most intelligent) but overall it is a pleasant story.
Though I wish I was able to read all at once. The cliffhanger ending is not my favorite kind of ending. The story (adventure seekers and gold hunters) has been done before. Therefore, I hope it is wrapped up quickly and does not keep going on and on to the point that it is tedious and cliched.
Another positive are the illustrations. They are detailed when needed and the colors set the mood of the places they are. My favorite is the goblin character while he is fishing. (My ten-year-old boy is coming out here. If you read this, you will see why that is).
Sebastian Girner, Galaad and Jeff Powell are talented creators (they also have somewhat amusing author bios at the end, especially Powell). I am curious to see how things wrap up, when Luvander’s secret comes out and how did they escape at the end of this book.