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Orc Stain #7 – Review

By: James Stokoe (writer, artist, colorist & letters)

The Story: Orc Stain is back!  Let’s catch up with One-Eye as he tries to simultaneously evade and thwart the Orc Tzar.

A few things: 

1. So nice to have this comic back. - Wow, it has been awhile on this comic.  I somehow didn’t review issue #6, but here’s a link to my review of issue #5 back in October 2010!  It’s hard to complain too much though.  For one thing, this comic (sadly) isn’t selling enough to to make Stokoe rich or even pay the mortgage, so I’m sure that he must do other work on the side or have a full-time job.  I don’t know that to be true, but it seems a reasonable assumption.  For another thing, you can just look at this comic and see that it is impossible for something this detailed to be produced on a monthly schedule.  Anyways welcome back!  Who knows if Stokoe has stocked up a few issues to release over the next few months OR if this is something that’ll just pop into our lives ever 6 months???  I’ll take it however it comes.

2. I’ve lost the plot thread. – But, one problem with the delay is that I’ve kinda lost the plot.  I really just don’t remember why our protagonist, One-Eye, is afoul of the Orc Tzar.  On the other hand, I’m not sure if it matters that much.  There is an Orc Tzar who has hordes of orcs and standing against him is One-Eye and his kinda-ally the nymph and her vebal and sentient cloak Zazu (who is awesome).  One area where Stokoe deserves credit is for keeping the plot simple since I’m sure he knew that the release schedule might be irregular.

3. Stokoe’s art is crazy detailed. - Now THIS is why we buy the comic.  The main attraction is Stokoe’s art and his sense of world building and design.  Pretty much ever panel in the comic is special, but there are also a few double-page spreads that are just incredible.  I mean, the level of detail is insane!  It is the kind of detail that makes you wonder if Stokoe could possible maintain basic human relationships because you imagine him spending days at a time hunched over his art table drawing armies of hundreds of little orcs.  But, I love everything about the visuals in this comic.  Stokoe is also a gifted colorist, everything is warm and bright.  And his lettering is top notch too (HAND LETTERING!)

4. A few zany new things. – Stokoe must have a hell of an imagination!  This isn’t the most crazy issue of Orc Stain, but he still gives us an orc motorcycle gang and builds Zazu into a very cool and interesting character. I love how he bonds with his host.  Just about every page has something weird and crazy going on.  This is world-building at its finest.

Conclusion: I wish we could have Orc Stain every month, but that’s just not going to happen.  So, we just have to enjoy the beautifully illustrated adventures of One-Eye whenever James Stokoe chooses to grace us.  This is an excellent and unique artistic showcase.

Grade: B+

-Dean Stell

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