Oh, boy! 32 pages of story, uninterrupted by non-story! What's this? "The Crypt"? Sounds spooky! Maybe there's some creepy puns in these 32 pages, like "Hello boils and ghouls! Pull up a coffin and make yourselves at home! Hee hee hee!"

Oh. Wait. There's like... a girl in a pointy damsel hat, and an Olympic torch bearer and a couple of... pole vaulters... hmm... hope this isn't just someone's D&D campaign they decided to turn into a comic book.

(checks the inside front cover)
aaahhh crap... this is someone's D&D campaign they decided to turn into a comic book. But hey, at least it's signed by the authors!

Since D&D campaigns that people decide to make into comics always begin with "ordinary" teens doing something normal in the real world before they are transported into the weird fantasy land of their fantastic quest... that's how this begins. Because what teen doesn't love visiting church basements at midnight? Sure it doesn't have the same "oomph" as the amusement park ride that opens the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon that aired on the CBS network approximately 4 years before this comic was made but look, not everybody can have the driving creative force of a Marvel/Toei co-production!

Anyhow... this being a D&D campaign someone made into a comic book (well, several someones, their names are written right there) the characters are the classic archetypes of fantasy: nerdy tween, boring big brother, boring big brother's boring girlfriend, bitchy girl, and jock. Don't let the fact that they all look like they're 40 distract you from the fact that they are definitely teens.

Lest the trigger fingers of Wizards of the Coast's law department get too itchy, be sure to drop in that the fake game these "ordinary" teens play is actually called "Crypts and Creatures", not to be confused with "Mazes and Monsters", the fake game Tom Hanks played in a TV movie loosely based on the 1979 disappearance of a Michigan State University student, or "Dark Dungeons", the fake game that infamously killed Black Leaf, leading Marcie to hang herself in the Chick tract of the same name.

So: finally on page 6 they get kidnapped into the fantastic fantasy land through a doorway in the basement of a Presbyterian church in Baltimore. And you thought YOUR church's youth group activities were exciting!

Once through the doorway they are transformed into fantastic fantasy creatures, such as Elf and Guy Wearing a Helmet, just like in the game they play which, and I cannot emphasize this enough, is not called "Dungeons and Dragons".

There's a bunch of back story as to why they kidnapped the little brother but really, why would you want more of this? Are you a made-up-vaguely-Old-English-or-Norse-sounding names enthusiast? (If you actually play Dungeons and Dragons, the answer to this question is most likely "yes")

This is actually a pretty funny thing to just drop on someone you just met.

Anyway back to our quest: our heroes meet a Death-Stalker, a Were-Bear, and a giant lizard-thing with a cocktail olive on its tail, until they are ultimately reunited with their similarly-transformed girlfriends, who have become Pointy-Hat-Wearing-Damsel and Pole-Vaulter-Healer, and were brought into the fantastical fantasy land by... (squints) Tarmak the Goatee guy and Yunilever the sexy pixie. Don't try to correct me, you'd only be hurting yourself.

Finally, after much exciting adventuring that I skipped past because my eyes kept glazing over, they get to the lair of the evil villain Dryer, no don't even try to correct me, who is holding the little brother chained to the floor and who is apparently someone famous and powerful in the regular non-fantastical world! It's 1987, so the field is wide open in the genre of Famously Evil Guys.

So they all rush in to rescue the kid brother and look, even within the story the characters are making fun of these stupid "fantastical" names, don't give me a hard time about it.

FINALLY finally, after a couple pages of competently-drawn but poorly-realized battles or something, I don't know, they get to a carnival tent where the Chosen Little Brother will decide who gets the Olympic torch, or something who cares, certainly not these characters.

So after hearing the arguments of the short guy, the mean elf, and main evil guy Muammar Gaddafi, oops, I mean Draino, Chosen Boy emerges from his fortune teller's tent! No, we don't get to hear each side's closing arguments, do you really want more dialogue?

He chooses to... explode the torch? I wasn't even aware that option was on the table but it means we won't have to continue this adventure much longer so I'm for it, personally.

This decision naturally ticks off everyone else and our teen friends find themselves chased by a fantastical fantasy mob from Wonderland but luckily they literally trip over the door back to the non-fantastical world which spares us yet another fantastical fantasy adventure of them looking for the damn door.

They make their escape into a stadium or something, where it has started snowing as Kid Brother questions his decision, though at no point are we given any insight as to how he made said decision, which is probably just as well.

Somehow, he looks older than he feels, but streaks of gray will do that to a young fella.

And, as our heroes walk slowly away into the snowy night, a newspaper reveals the shocking twist!! Drayad was fake Gaddafi all along! What have we learned from this exciting adventure? If you're playing Dungeons and Dragons with your friends and one of them says, "hey, this is fun, this would make a great novel or comic book", quickly change the subject and make sure they never bring it up ever again! Good night fake folks!

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