I’ll admit, this was an impulse buy three months ago, as I’ll usually give anything with an intriguing premise and a #1 a fair shot. And I’m so glad I did. This comic has continued to delight and intrigue. What’s more, this issue was out-and-out funny. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, it’s a send-up of familiar tropes while at the same time a complete celebration of them.
Our hero Keith has managed to stumble his way into a hero’s journey, which now becomes complete as he rounds out his team of helpers, or “cavalcade of warriors” as the comic puts it. It happens thanks to a side quest of having to confront a wizard on behalf of evil trolls. Sound familiar? Yeah, except this version resembles the kind of late-night D&D session when your friends are all goofy off of high-fat snacks and caffeine and keep one-upping each other’s wackiness until things get downright surreal.
The depiction of the “man-trolls” takes the troll motif and just runs with it. They are less Phantom Tollbooth and more Hitchhiker’s Guide, emphasized in the artist’s rendering of the glompy yellow-green grotesqueries. Things might have been pushed a bit too far into satire, as they go from being kind-of monstrous Smurfs into kind-of right-wing militant Conservatives. I mean, OK, we get it. “Trolls.” By the time the über-masculine barbarian is berating them for being caricatures of online misogynists, it’s gets a little much. Although if there’s any group that deserves being outright mean towards…
Keith actually starts being a growing character in this issue, contributing to key plot points here, although I’m more intrigued by the knight character Manton and the teases we get about his backstory. The villain, too, starts displaying more machinations here beyond the generic “get ‘em!”, although a lot more will have to be developed to mover her out of the clichés the comic seems to be able to move away from.
There’s not much more to add about the art beyond what I’ve said before. It continues to be a visual blast of creativity, from the unique designs of the character Melvon the Wizard and the Glomps to the amount of detail in nearly every panel. The Glomps’ village in particular has a lot of background action that demands you linger in every panel to get the full humor. And did you notice the painting of dogs playing poker in the Wizard’s home? The colors, too, deserve attention, with bold and unique palette choices that pop off the screen.
Come to think of it, it there were a Kaptara RPG, I would be all over that. It would have to use one of those bizarre Fudge/Fate indie systems, though. Might I suggest Risus? Someone get on it!
This comic is reveling in its creativity and humor. The result is just … weird, but in a completely entertaining way. The art carries the story while also packing a lot of background action and gags, all wrapped up in caricature and bizarre design. Take MAD Magazine, Masters of the Universe, and Adventure Time and jam it all together — and you’ll just scratch the surface of this delightfully weird world.