The very first version of Side Passage started with the fight with the orcs. Back then I didn’t really know the characters beyond the personality traits they derived from the D&D players upon whom they were based. After 4 issues I got a better feel for them and decided they each needed a few pages of introduction before they ran out and started slaying 1 HD monsters. Does the comic suffer from not starting off with a fireball? I’m sure Vaugn would think so.
Also, it’s nice to have a friend who doesn’t really read comics to tell me when she has no idea what’s going on. Details, for the purpose of clarity, have been incorporated into page 5, and added to pages 6 and 7, which are now all up on the webs.