REVIEW: ORCS! #2 – A DnD Adventure Given Real Heart

Orcs #2 comics review

Table of Contents

ORCS! #2 Review

ORCS! #2 continues the adventures of a band of misfit orcs. The series is written and illustrated by Christine Larsen (Adventure Time, By Night), with variant covers by Sweeney Boo and Mirka Andolfo.

We return to Bog and his band of orcs as they continue their quest for treasure, starting with fighting off the horde of angry squirrels. But when they head home they’re looking for a little playful payback upon their king for sending them on a fool’s errand. Yet it might not have been a complete waste as they find acorns may hide something shiny, but might find themselves suffering for their actions before they get a chance to enjoy their loot.

ORCS! #2 is published by BOOM! Studios under their imprint KaBOOM! And is available from March 17, 2021.

Orcs! #2 out through Boom studios
Orcs! #2 front cover

ORCS! #2 Story

The issue picks up where the last ended, with our adventuring orcs battling against the ferocious squirrels that stand between them and their loot. They engage the squirrels with wit and guile, only to discover that the treasure they were after might have a lot more value to the squirrels than to themselves.

It’s when they return home that the story settles into its pacing for the issue, and I find myself thoroughly enjoying it once again. Being back home gives our protagonists a chance to settle down and open up a bit. It’s still a whole heap of fun, with some great interactions and funny moments, but we also get a chance to understand the orcs on a more emotional level.

We get a deeper look at Utzu and feel for her in raising her son, learning that she has taught herself new skills to be a better mother. We also learn how much Bog is a fan of the orc hero Drod, and so get an insight into why he is eager to set off on adventures.

Speaking of Drod, the final part of the issue gives us more of her adventures as she battles ghouls and a giant, and finds potential allies. I tried to avoid DnD comparisons with the first issue, as they are basically a stock standard comparison for any fantasy story of late, but it is basically impossible here. Where the first issue leans more into classic folk-tale and the zeitgeist of fantasy races, in this issue Larsen absolutely digs a bit into the TTRPG elements.

There are some glorious moments that feel lifted from a game of DnD (and at least a couple that could have been from one I play in). I feel that doing so helps add an extra element to the Drod section, making it feel truly like a story within a story as it plays on archetypes and tropes of adventuring parties.

REVIEW: ORCS! #2 – A DnD Adventure Given Real Heart 4
4 pages of ORCS! Preview art

ORCS! #2 Art

Larsen continues to do great work on the illustrating side as well. I still continue to think about how well the style would work for an animated series, and the more I think about it the more desperately I want it just so more people could be introduced to this story of just pure fun. Her art is still impressively expressive given the style, adding some real weight to some of the emotional beats. The art helps make the moment Utzu talks about being a mother hit so much harder.

And because Larsen is doing the writing and art it means she is able to better meld the two where lettering is involved. There are some truly great panels for the composition of art and lettering, where it is clear the forethought that was involved to make it mesh best.

ORCS #2 Conclusion

Between my review of the first issue and this one, I feel it’s clear how much I recommend this series. This is just an incredibly fun book, but one that doesn’t do so to the detriment of cleverness. Larsen clearly has knowledge of fantasy from different sources and is bringing it all to ORCS! There’s a lot more to this story once you start digging below the surface.

This story is intended for younger audiences, and if you know somebody within that bracket I’m sure they could have a great time with this. Yet the intended audience doesn’t mean you should lock yourself off to it, because doing so would mean denying yourself joy in comic form.


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