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I had heard good things about this series of comic strip style stories. Knights of the Dinner Table is set around a number of teams who like to meet up to play role playing games against each other. The stories are depicted in black and white and with a lot of dialogue, so it's not your average comic book. Often humourous, and quite intriguing once you get into it, I found it hard going to start with and definitely not for the faint of heart.
Bundle of Trouble is the 19th volume of the series, and it's where I picked up proceedings. Initially, I thought I may have a problem catching up with what had been going on, but it turns out that things chop and change so much that this is not essential. The volume starts off with a very brief synopsis of what's already happened, leading to the conclusion that we're at the final battle, and the teams are all over the place!
Enter the teams fighting it out in the role playing grand finale! Shiela is joined by Cody instead of Greg (no idea why this is important) and is disappointed. She is a member of the Dorm Troopers. The opponents are the heroes, I suppose: the Knights of the Dinner Table (naturally a play on words involving King Arthur). The characters do interchange quite a bit throughout the volume, and before long, I have to admit that which character was saying what ended up being not so important as what was being said.
There is a referee constantly reading out the events as they occur, while the players come out with one-liners that are actually really funny. Taken in the context of the game unfolding, comments such as a ref reading out, 'The pack ape takes yer bolt of hellacious pain right in the chest and doesn't even flinch' being immediately followed by the reply comment of 'It's no use, Bob. Let's try to lure him away with the fruit cart again' lead to a little chuckle, while the more extreme scenes provoked a bit more then just a chuckle.
It took ages for me to get into this: weeks, really. But when I did, I found it flowed quite quickly. You can't rush something like this, as it's full of dialogue that is cleverly written. There is a whole world created here, and it all take place just around one table. The characters change a little bit, but you really need to let yourself get sucked in to really enjoy it, otherwise it just ends up being painfully slow and making no sense. Give yourself a few hours on a weekend to read it slowly in the sun, and you'll get drawn in to the strange games and instant rules that they make up.
It seems as if imagination is the key here. The characters in Knights of the Dinner Table all have vivid imaginations, and the broader you expand your horizons the better you tend to do. The humour kept it afloat, for me, as without it it definitely would have degenerated into something bland and pointless. As it is, it is a clever piece of work, and while it won't even interest some people, others who persever might find it well worth the effort. I can't say I'' rush to pick up the next one I see, and nor will I be revisiting this one, but it wasn't a complete waste of time, and it made me chuckle quite a bit.