Released through Vault Comics, Quests Aside, created by Brian Schirmer, Elena Gogou, Rebecca Nalty and AndWorld Designs, is a story about the goings on within a medieval tavern for both its staff and patrons.
Quests Aside tells the story of the staff of the eponymous tavern, set at the side of a road from the King’s castle to the many adventures throughout the world, the eponymous watering hole is a favoured stop for travellers. Built and owned by the famous adventurer, Barrow, and staffed by an eclectic group including a mage, an exiled princess and a walking skeleton, the Quests Aside welcomes all manner of patrons, from Knights to squires and beyond. However, when the King makes a visit to this humble establishment, he drops a bombshell on Barrow which leaves the landlord reeling and in need of a plan if he hopes to keep his pub, and the family he’s created within its walls.
Writer Brian Schirmer has created a quirky comedy within the pages of Quests Aside. A combination of Cheers and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia but set in a world in the vein of Damsels from D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. and Delver. The cast are an eclectic bunch which provides Quests Aside with some nice variety. From Stoic almost Bernard Black-esque Barrow to Pike inspired mage, Jodan, the cast feels like some fan favourite comedy trope combined to make the best correlation. However, if there is one issue with this issue it has to be a decidedly lack of story as the plot seems to be devoid of any real semblance of direction until right at the very end.
The art, meanwhile, is solid work from Elena Gogou, as her pencils are reminiscent of the style used for similarly period set Delver. This notion is further enhanced by Rebecca Nalty’s colours, whose use of a warm palette not only sell the mediaeval vibe, but also the idea of the Quests Aside being a warm, welcoming place. However, there is little about this work which truly stands out, save for the pair’s depiction of the Tavern’s storage cupboard and the completely unexpected face off between the Quest Aside’s bard and the King’s own musician.
Quests Aside #1 is an interesting opening instalment which, despite an average start, offers up hints of a greater story to come. The creative team of Schirmer, Gogou and Nalty deliver a concept and a world that feels built upon some of the classic comedies we’ve all grown up on and, as long as the rest of the series can build on that, Vault could have another fun comic series on their hands.