Guest reviews

Guest-written Webcomic Reviews

Guest Review: D20Monkey

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Since my cohort Tangent is currently finding himself wending off to the wilds of Colorado to rid the Earth of the scourge that is elk-kind–I’m amply familiar with your horrible cousins the deer, who have launched several suicide missions against my car–and the yutz has once again procrastinated himself into a schedule hole, I’ve stepped in to throw a bit of help his way with a review for D20Monkey, which is, oddly enough, one of the better gaming comics out there, assuming you favor the tabletop game.

D20Monkey follows a group of gamers with a variety of secrets, most of which I really can’t spill out of a desire to protect against spoilers. I can, however, say that things are about to get really meta for Sam–the GM, and employee at his father’s game shop–and his group. Everything from homicidal boyfriends with serious issues to a stack of secrets three-deep and five-wide will come into play here, and most of said secrets will raise serious issues for Sam and the crew.

Those interested in gaming will of course do best here, by virtue of the massive amount of games going on. Several plotlines will involve a game realm known as Karthun, which Sam cobbled together himself from scratch. It’s a real step up from the normal gaming environment, as it starts out with ridiculously overpowered characters–not to mention enemies–and only goes up from there. Further fun comes in with a Lovecraft-style affair involving the ladies of the strip, as well as one game involving Jenga as a plot device.

But beyond the games will include more mundane topics like romance and job issues, some downright afterschool-special affairs like homophobia and issues of disability, and some stuff that’s so blatantly bizarre that, well, it probably shouldn’t be here and yet it is. Hey Kids: play along at home–guess which character is related to Santa Claus! The worst part is, that’s a plot. It will come up several times.

While not every plot here is handled well–one recent plot involving an extradimensional entity who occasionally provides Sam with guidance while more frequently trolling for strippers was a sterling example of how to crater a plotline–most of the time, D20Monkey will handle its scripts with care and due aplomb. It’s a quick read, and usually a joy, but there are some parts that will come across hackneyed by any measure.

Gamers will be overjoyed with D20Monkey, and while it’s not a natural twenty, the bonuses to the “will you enjoy it” roll should prove more than sufficient to pass the check easily.