I've missed several opportunities to facetiously point out that the second exclamation point must be very important. Anyway, I'll say again that I feel a kinship with you knowing that you've drawn from your tabletop experiences to make this. I can say the same, and I know how intimate that can be.
Goals and Intentions:
I mentioned before how interesting I find the idea of prepping an audience. It seems common knowledge for many people, but I certainly never thought about such a thing until fairly recently. Knowing this is a one-shot deal of 50 pages is interesting as well. I know that's the most common piece of advice I've heard on forums--start off with shorter stories you know you can finish and wrap up. i imagine that both audience prep and limiting your scope are related. One prepares the audience to appreciate a more intensive work, and the other prepares you for the investment required for that intensive work. Ultimately, this is all to praise your strength of vision and focus. if you maintain this level of perspective, I don't see why you can't become one hell of a prolific comic creator--hell, a creator in general.
Art improvement, as always, is admirable and relatable. I'll be interested to see if anyone ever says that they are NOT looking to improve their art. As I've said in other reviews, and as you no doubt have read from other sources of advice, there are fewer ways to better improve and challenge yourself than to make a comic.
However, that maxim is only true if you are always reaching, and that is the first observation I had about your work--your ambition towards your artistic refinement shows. That is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it has been a common issue I've voiced in many reviews I've made here: a lack of dynamic reach exacerbates any and all technical failings. It shows a lack of confidence, and the fastest way of turning off your audience, as far as I can gather, is to infect them with your misgivings, your insecurity, or your lack of enthusiasm. You have NO such problem. Your confidence, if only in your longterm investment, is manifest from the VERY start. Those first 7 pages are eye candy.
And just so I'm clear, that has little to do with the art itself. Hard to verbalize, but I'll try: although the first seven pages of your work are delightful to look at and genuinely engaging, the reader is not going to be impressed by your raw artistic prowess--YET. And that's the beauty. You're catching the reader's eye by marshaling the sum of your effort and competent skill set. Prime examples include the panel on page 13 when Alex aspires to bigger jobs and imagines fighting a dragon. Part of it is that the panel is small--maybe too small--but despite your skill level, it looks compelling. . I'll just say any city shot is included in this praise. Obviously, and you know this evidently, the quasi upside-down shot of the potential thief leaping up to the top of the Weather Rune tower on page is your crown jewel. It looks phenomenal.
What I'm trying to say, clumsily, is that you are punching well above your weight, and that's a big deal. It's effective as hell. You should be excited. When you inevitably get better and better with the fundamentals, your comic quality is going to go BOOM. As long as you maintain this high level vision, you're always going to be climbing.
Any issues I have are purely technical, and you already know your failings. There's no need to underscore those. I'll merely offer a corollary to what I said earlier--when your shots are dynamic, your skill level is gilded, and when your panels are flaccid and dull, your skill level appears lower. Looking back, it might just be a general observation that you, unsurprisingly, have a roller coaster of quality. Your characters look solid when looking in 3/4 view or toward the reader, but your profiles are wonky as balls. Rod is best example of this gulf. Look how good he looks in the last penal of page 6, the first panel of page 8, and all of page 14. Now compare that to his face in the first panel of page 12. That's a huge difference, a jarring difference. That's something to watch out for, and it's potentially something you want to go back and fix. I know I've had to routinely go back and refine the crappy looking stuff I have in my own work. It's time you could spend elsewhere, sure, but I think it's valuable.
Rod also suffers from a nitpick--I think his color scheme is atrocious. I don't like looking at him. The blue-white contrast is so high and saturated that my eye reflexively avoids him. Panel 4 of page 12 especially. I'd dilute that, if only a bit, to take the edge off.
Some brief words on character design: Not sure if it's a problem, but I am curious if the main cast are time travelers. The thief as well--they have sneakers, polyester backpacks, and all sorts of modern accouterments. Meanwhile, the guards all have period armor and clothes. I don't know if that's significant, but it is certainly eye catching. Otherwise, nothing stood out one way or another. I will say I got a strong A:TLA vibe from the two rune guards.
Other than thet, the only special note I'd make is to work on gesture. Rod's action panels in the first 7 pages and the guard poses in the most recent pages look stiff. More fluid, less angular construction will go a long way.
It's far too early to comment on the narrative itself. I'll leave that to you to explore in the future. 50 pages might be less than you think, I'll say that much.
When you said you were inspired by tabletop experiences, I did not expect this level of parallel. From the monster design, to the cast, to the setting, to the very dialogue, it is definitely in the mold of Video Game World archetypes. When Rod literally names his technique, I was caught off guard. This may be a convention of the genre, but it certainly isn't appealing to me. The structure of the world is still early, so i can't make too many firm claims, but I am definitely getting the impression that the world is being built around the cast of characters--and your own tabletop interests--rather than existing on its own merits and cycles. For a 50 page comic, that may be enough, and it is early.
That said, you have some genuinely interesting plot points here. The Weather Rune, and the implied reliance on artificially created weather, is a rare and fascinating hook for your story. I definitely think it's a worthy device to use as the orbit for the primary conflict you have playing out. How you explore that will be tricky. You have the inescapable page 8 describing how magic works, but, not surprisingly, I thought all of that page was explained MUCH better in the very next few pages. You conveyed the nature of his aquamancy through an interesting part of his life rather than giving a technical rundown. It's a common pitfall, so i'd stick with your latter approach. Organic, character-full information over explicit textbook excerpts.
You know better than anyone that your comic is still in its nascent stages, as are your technical skills. There's no shame in that, obviously, we're all there. By far your most powerful weapon is your reasonable and enthusiastic vision and reach. You punch above your weight, and it elevates your work--and no doubt expedites your progress. It's early in the work to tell, but I think you have a golden trajectory. Keep pushing yourself and keep learning. Success will depend on shoring up those fundamentals and maintaining energy levels.