Dynamite’s Pathfinder Origins comes to a close this month, as Ezren the wizard makes one final attempt to convince Lady Heidmarch of his companions’ worthiness to be members of the Pathfinder society by telling a story of his own past.
After the ruination of his family’s business, Ezren travelled to distant lands to master the art of magic, returning years later to confront his estranged family. Teaming up with the halfling Lem, a member of the famous Pathfinder society, Ezren goes on to survive a bruising encounter with his criminal brother, before being urged by Lem to give up on revenge and develop his skills through adventuring abroad. These travels, it turns out, are what brought him into contact with his current companions; can his loyalty to them convince Lady Heidmarch to allow them entry into the Pathfinder lodge? And even if it does, will they be ready for the initiation they face in its deepest, darkest chambers?
The issues in this Pathfinder Origins series have veered from the highly enjoyable to the painfully bad, and Ezren’s story sits pretty much right in the middle. The action sequences are well handled, and there’s a genuine sense of foreboding as the secrets of the Pathfinder lodge are revealed towards the end of the issue, but the bulk of the story is sluggishly pedestrian and riddled with plot holes. Ezren, for example, gives up his all-consuming quest for vengeance far too easily, and the initiation sequence at the issue’s climax is poorly thought out. In fact, the entire last third of the issue consists of a slightly tortured attempt to link together the previous five stories in the series, and while it’s nice that there’s a call back to the first (and best) issue of Pathfinder Origins, the scene as a whole feels far too laboured.
Leandro Oliveira’s artwork is fine, and does a particularly good job of rendering the various fantastical creatures of Ezren’s later flashbacks, but it lacks the lushness of Tom Garcia’s work on some of the earlier issues, and feels uneven overall, like some sections were more rushed than others. It’s certainly not enough to make up for the lazy storytelling, and while Pathfinder Origins had moments of genuine potential earlier in its run, it ends on a definite whimper rather than a bang.