ORCS! #4 Review
ORCS! #4 sees bigger troubles stirring as well as a return to the tales of Drod. The series is written and illustrated by Christine Larsen (Adventure Time, By Night), with variant covers by Sweeney Boo and Jorge Corona with colours by Sarah Stern.
Bog’s band of misfit orcs seem to have finally found some safety and peace, though everything has a cost when it comes to dwarves. But while our heroes find rest there are greater dangers growing out in the Known World.
ORCS! #4 is published by BOOM! Studios under their imprint KaBOOM! And is available from May 19, 2021.
ORCS! #4 Story
The previous issue of ORCS! delivered a lot on character and letting us understand our heroes, and so this issue turns its focus towards world-building and the larger threats of that world. There’s a good focus on Granny this issue as she works to do what she can to save the world from some mysterious threat, even if the rest of the orcs don’t see any point in it.
Larsen does some great work in developing the world and weaving threads throughout it without ever just spelling things out. We get a link between the orcs and elves that may lead to something bigger, and the introduction of dwarves helps paint a picture of where each of these peoples sits within the world. It definitely seems everything is connected in some way, including the tales of the orc hero Drod.
Speaking of Drod, I was so happy to get more of her tale in this issue, particularly since it included a rematch with an old foe. I really love this story-within-a-story about Drod. It’s really interesting to see the idea of heroes and their tales told from the perspective of the usually villainous orcs, there’s definitely a bluntness to Drod’s adventure you certainly wouldn’t expect if she were an elf. It also allows for a fascinating examination of certain fantasy tropes and folk-lore elements in a manner that is easily digestible.
ORCS! #4 Art
This issue is particularly dynamic both in terms of moments and environments. The brief glimpse we get of the dwarven market is stunning, as it matches expectations so it is recognizable at a glance yet still with a unique twist that keeps it very much an element of ORCS! The magic we see used is powerful on the page and the astral plane is suitably surreal and beautiful. Just the subtle details of the backgrounds help tell the reader something; for example the caves of the orcs look strikingly different from the caves of the dwarves. I love the range Larsen gets to explore with the art with so many different locations and moments within this single isse.
ORCS! #4 Conclusion
ORCS! continues to build itself up more and more, yet never loses sight of being an entertaining book at the core. This book is able to do such a wonderful job of balancing world-building, fun moments, and rising tension so that they all work hand-in-hand together to tell a truly engaging story every step of the way. This is still an absolute delight of a read and there’s no sign it will stop being so anytime soon.
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