By: James Stokoe (creator, writer, art & colors)

The Story: One-eye the orc tries to escape retribution for knocking the gronch off his old partner-in-crime.

What’s Good: If you aren’t familiar with Orc Stain, you should definitely try it out.  Track down the first few issues or get the trade when it comes out.  I read all the standard super-hero comics and the first thing you think when you open Orc Stain is, “Well…..this is different!”  The art is just tremendous.  It is weird and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is one of those comics where you can just stare at a panel and look at some of the weird things that Stokoe has drawn in the background.  I love his sense of overall design as well: most of the tools/weapons/apparatus in this world are some sort of animal, so an orc’s armor is made of live animals that have all these whacky eyeballs jutting out everywhere.  Another example: To spy on One-Eye, the bad orcs send a bug into the room.  It looks like some wild crab with a huge eyeball on it.  It observes and trundles off to give its report by climbing into the mouth of an orc and commandeering his voice! Crazy stuff!

The story in this issue is fun too.  This is only the third issue, so we’re just getting to know the characters and the world.  We already know that One-Eye is a safe-cracker and can use his magic hammer to tap the perfect spot on safes to break them open.  In the last issue, we learned he could tap a fellow orc and make his gronche fall off (“gronche” is the orc word for a man’s….ahem…..”stuff”).  Here we learn that he can do just about anything with his little hammer.  Destroy a building?  Check.  Kill a room full of orcs?  Check.  It is becoming a very cool story and Stokoe has already violated enough taboos that you really don’t know what will happen next.

A final plus is there is a lot of bang for the buck here:  31 pages of great art for $2.99!

What’s Not So Good: It’s really hard to criticize this issue much, but it wasn’t as great as #2 which had me physically laughing at times at humor so off-color that I was afraid someone would ask why I was snickering (“You see, this orc just tapped this guy with a hammer and his groche fell off.”).  We don’t get the belly laughs here and that makes me worry that maybe we’ve seen the one trick that this title can do.

Conclusion: GREAT art and some good off-color fun.  A guilty pleasure!

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell