Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Orc Stain #7

by James Stokoe

Orc Stain #7 is exactly a year late, having been solicited for February of 2011.  Lately, I've been thinking of the relaunched Prophet as a worthy (and probably superior) replacement to this series in my affections, and it's nice to see a new issue to compare things to.

In Stokoe's series, the Orcs, who are always nothing but fodder in other fantasy stories, are front and centre.  The hero of our story is a one-eyed Orc (called One-Eye - Orcs are nameless) who is believed to be the Orc that the Orctzar has heard about in a prophecy.  His minions had him captured, but One-Eye managed to escape from the belly of a gigantic beast thing.

In this issue, One-Eye works to escape his pursuers, and is aided by Bowie, the swamp witch who betrayed him once before, and her talking cloak, Zazu.  Bowie is interested in the abilities of One-Eye's remaining eye, and she strikes a deal with him to help him escape the Orctzar's army in order to learn its secrets.

They decide that the best way to avoid their enemies is to take the dangerous Mondo Pass through some mountains, which lands them in ever deeper trouble, especially when a group of River Orcs, riding Zors (picture a cross between a Harley Davidson and a squid) come chasing after them.

Stokoe is one insane comics master.  His pages are crammed with more detail than a Where's Waldo page drawn by Geof Darrow, and he continues to play with anthropomorphic beast-items.  Every new panel of this comic is a bit of an adventure in reading, and there are some gorgeous double-page spreads.  This issue has 31 pages of story for only $2.99, making it well worth the wait.  My hope is that the next issue will come our way before another year passes though...

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