ORCS! #6 Review
ORCS! #6 brings Volume 1 to an end with the promise of more stories to come. The series is written and illustrated by Christine Larsen (Adventure Time, By Night), with variant covers by Sweeney Boo and Qistina Khalidah.
The Orcs have made it to safety! Yes! Wait. Looks like Bog, Zep, Pez, Utzu, and Gurh have a new battle ahead of them against an ancient evil from the Astral Plane.
ORCS! #6 is published by BOOM! Studios under their imprint KaBOOM! And is available from July 14, 2021.
ORCS! #6 Story
I’ve talked in past reviews about how the story of ORCS! reflects common tropes in Dungeons & Dragons and general fantasy through a new lens, and so this final issue brings us to the boss fight. By this point, I shouldn’t be surprised by anything Larsen does in this story, and yet she still managed to catch me off guard with her approach to this final fight.
It is surprisingly unsettling and due to the strange nature of their foe there is actually a sense of uncertainty around whether they’ll defeat it. It’s a huge joy to watch our heroes all fighting together and uncovering the secret to victory (because of course there’s a special weak spot). It is incredibly satisfying after following their adventure, after all of their own personal conflicts and inter-group fights.
ORCS! has also pulled off one of my favourite ways to end a story, it pulls everything together without tidying up every thread. This issue is a climax of all the story so far, even the story within the story, yet that doesn’t mean every point has to be neatly tied up. Larsen concludes the major conflicts while enough mysteries are left to hint at more.
It’s clear she wants to write more in this world, yet without the common trap of leaving some big secret that needs answering. Instead, we are just left with small questions that could grow into something bigger if they’re ever picked at. Even if we never see more of our orcs in print these questions are enough to tickle our own imaginations.
ORCS! #6 Art
I’ve talked repeatedly about how much I love Larsen’s art for this story in previous reviews. So for this one, I’m going to focus specifically on the art during the boss fight. I think the key thing that stuck out to me was the framing. There are several wide shots used during the fight and noticeably they are almost always to show the entire band of orcs, yet more than that it often makes them quite small within the frame. This helps show the scope of the battle and gives a true sense of the size of what they’re fighting.
The rest of the fight is a lot tighter with focus on particular orcs and their actions or expressions, creating a real sense of tension and urgency. We aren’t passively observing the battle, we’re right in there with them. It’s a pretty much perfect way to handle the biggest fight of the series, especially given that ORCS! focused so much upon the characters and even in this fight, it manages to make their personalities center-stage.
ORCS! #6 Conclusion
I’ve been saying since my review of the first issue that you should be reading ORCS!, and that opinion hasn’t changed one bit. This story has been an incredibly fun ride from the start right up until this finale. More than that Larsen has given her characters real depth and emotion that makes you want to follow them.
Orcs are possibly the most standard generic fantasy enemy and this story has taken them and made something truly meaningful to behold. I never expected an emotional rollercoaster when I started on the first page of the first issue, yet that is exactly what I found between then and now. I can only hope we get to see more of this band of misfits in the future.
Want more Comics Reviews?
1. REVIEW: ORCS! #1 – Fantasy Adventure from Another Perspective
2. REVIEW: ORCS! #2 – A DnD Adventure Given Real Heart
3. ORCS! #3 Will Make You Hungry for More!
4. ORCS! #4 (BOOM! Studios) Delivers Big on Worldbuilding
5. REVIEW: ORCS! #5 presents a Light (ish)-Hearted Shopping Trip.