Story By: The Cast of Critical Role
Written By: Darcy Van Poelgeest
Illustrated By: CoupleOfKooks
Colorist: Cris Peter
Lettering By: Ariana Maher
Cover Art By: Helen Mask
Published By: Dark Horse Comics
From the cast of Critical Role and their second campaign which involved the Mighty Nein getting involved with the Kryn Dynasty – comes this comic book series in conjunction with Dark Horse Comics. This series follows Leylas Kryn, also known as the Bright Queen, the ruler of the Kryn Dynasty in Xhorhas. This tale is that of a bittersweet love story, as we learn of the Bright Queens romance with her partner Quana, one that has continued across many lifetimes. Both are devoted to assembling the Luxon, a religious and all powerful artifact, in hopes of bringing a new Golden Age to their kingdom. When another piece of the Luxon is found, Quana is sent forth to retrieve it, but what awaits her may be the Dynasties undoing.
Many fans of Dungeons & Dragons have at least heard of the cast of Critical Role, where a group of anime and video game voice actors gather together to film their D&D sessions for the enjoyment of people on the internet. All of this is hosted on Twitch and YouTube every Thursday over on their official Critical Role channels. The World of Exandria and its lore, has all been created by the incredibly talented DM – Matthew Mercer. This comic series is based off of the characters in their second campaign, with this particular series being written by Darcy Van Poelgeest. Here we see a brief glimpse into the life of the Bright Queen of Xhorhas, her partner Quana and their lifelong quests to reunite the Luxons to help their people prosper. Within only this very first issue, we learn of this couple’s devotion to one another, their cause and their kingdom. The Luxon is not only a religious artifact, but a being or object of immense power not of this realm. Gathering all of its pieces will be incredibly difficult, as we soon see.
Within the livestreams of this campaign, the Bright Queen in my opinion was played with such high regard, as a ruler of a country should. Then this comic shows a somewhat softer side to her when we see moments of her interacting with Quana. Although Quana’s character only appeared briefly in the livestreams, here in these issues we get to learn more about the warrior she has become, her devotion to Leylas’ and how far each of them would go to save the other. It truly is a loving look into their relationship, but also brings forth the realisation that the Kryns are also being targeted by others not even from the Empire. It will be very interesting to see where Issue Two will take this story, as there is plenty of room for expansion.
This mini comics series was written by Darcy Van Poelgeest, a multi award winning writer and director now living in Vancouver, B.C. Not only has his work included producing short films and commercials, but he is also an Eisner Award winning writer as well. Of which he received the Harvey Awards ‘Book of the Year’ and the 2020 Eisner Award for ‘Best Limited Series’ for his debut comic series ‘Little Bird’ (2019). Now he has undertaken the four part mini series that focuses on the Bright Queen from Critical Roles’ Tales of Exandria series. With creative consultation from the loremaster himself Mattew Mercer. Artwork is handled both by CoupleOfKooks (Vox Machina Origins II #5) and Helen Mask.
Critical Role: The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #1 is yet another reason we have grown to love Dark Horse Comics even more, as they continue to work with bringing more of the characters from our favorite Critical Role campaigns to life. By not only expanding their stories, but just bringing them back once again as the cast continue now with Campaign 3 with a host of new characters, quests and adventures awaiting them all. So pick up this series now, as we all bide our time for the next livestream on Thursday. Critical Role: The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #1 is available to buy now in your local comic book shop, as well as directly online from the publishers over at Dark Horse Comics.