Rating: 4/5 – How to Serve Monsters…Deliciously
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow
Depending on how psychotically sadistic the person running your role-playing game campaign chooses to behave, assaulting a dungeon can be a very costly endeavor. Not only are there weapons and armor to keep in good repair, there’s the little matter of food. Provisions must be bought, protected, and meted out carefully depending on how deeply your party chooses to pierce the curtain of evil the dungeon hides. Only the best equipped parties with the most well-stocked larders can hope to survive…a poor band of destitute, starving explorers haven’t got a prayer.
Unless, of course, they get creative…
After a nasty encounter with a red dragon that may or may not have cost his sister her life, stalwart fighter Laios and his party of adventurers find themselves back at the beginning of the dungeon, victims of errant (or perhaps well-timed) teleportation spell. While they’re grateful to be alive, they have little money and even less food. All appears hopeless until Laios reveals a cunning plan and a hidden passion…the party could eat through the dungeon, consuming the monsters they defeat along the way!
It’s such an outlandish idea that manages to still make so much sense I’m surprised nobody’s tried it in an actual game. Why buy food when there’s so much fresh meat, vegetation, and other consumables just waiting to be eaten? It helps that halfling thief Chilchuck seems to be on board with the idea, and barely a chapter in the party comes across a dwarf, Senshi, with actual experience in monster-based cooking techniques, and a desire to eat a Red Dragon.
Marcille, the resident female elf mage, however, is having none of it, and it’s her presence that makes this first volume of the series as much fun as it is. She’s essentially us, the voice of reason, the big pain in the posterior pointing out why this isn’t a good idea, the only person so un-gung-ho that half the time I kept expecting her to leave the group. Hunger wins out, though, and she soon finds herself a somewhat unwilling participant in the ongoing quest to rescue Laios’ sister…and grab a meal or two along the way.
I have a soft spot for elves in fantasy, and Marcille starts out as such an endearingly pathetic character I couldn’t help but fall for her. It’s clear creator Ryoko Kui likes her as well, as some of the best faces of shock, revulsion, and out and out fear belong to her. Thankfully, she doesn’t develop into a one-joke pony…she’s hiding a rather dark secret, and when it’s revealed it makes for two of the most laugh-out-loud panels I’ve read in a comic in a long time. I have a feeling where she’s concerned it’s only going to get worse…and I’m looking forward to that. The only real problem Delicious in Dungeon has ahead of it is how long can the gag remain fresh? The novelty of a party going through a dungeon killing monsters and eating them (with recipe descriptions that would make Julia Child jealous) certainly doesn’t seem like one that can last very long.
If you’re an old-school RPG player like me, you’ll kick yourself wondering why you didn’t cut up and grill that Basilisk after you dispatched it to the outer planes. You’ll wonder just what a green slime actually tastes like if you cook it and harden it enough to make a gummy candy out of it. Simply put, this book is a lot of fun, with great artwork (as mentioned, some of the comedic expressions are priceless), and a host of characters with varied dimension to them. The strength of the characters and the sudden unexpected moments of humor kept me wanting more Whether it can keep the main joke of the series appealing or not remains to be seen, but for at least this first volume, Delicious in Dungeon really delivers.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
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