The Webcomic Watchman

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Review #42: A History of Violence

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Title: Elven Lacryment
Artist: Alex Moore
Writer: "Q" (no, not that Q)
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Updates: Unknown

They say there are two ways orcs are represented in games and comics: One way is the bloodthirsty savages who run through the countryside, looting and pillaging and breaking shit up for the hell of it (say, the Orks from Warhammer 40K). The other type are the noble savages with a whole spiritual/mystical tribe revolving around shamanic traditions who are always misunderstood by humans (say, the orcs from the later Warcraft saga).

Unfortunately for the elves in this comic, their orcs fall into the first category.

The story is narrated by an elf named ShadowWolf [sic] with a shitty life. Her mother is attacked by some dark elf just as she's about to be born. Her village is attacked by orcs when she becomes a teenager and her mom's head is stuck on a pike. Her only traveling companion (so far) is some empathic wolf/hound named Xanther. And for some reason, the same orcs that razed ShadowWolf's village to the ground keep hunting her. Yes, that's pretty much a summary of the whole story so far. Nothing special, nothing awful, just a good ol' tale of revenge.

One would ask why the orcs even bothered to spare ShadowWolf after decimating her entire village, but then the comic would be incredibly short. Either the orcish leader has some ulterior motive that has yet to be revealed or ShadowWolf has just been given special plot armor from the writer.

The artwork on this thing is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, the faces of the characters are incredibly detailed, this particular style seems to draw out such rich emotional reaction that you can see the fear or the anger in their eyes quite vividly. The weapons are quite detailed, and the red blood seems to contrast well with the more gothic, grayscale appearance of the comic.

However, there are several strips where the artist just leaves a grayish wall in lieu of an actual background unless the script demands it, though the later pages have gotten better with this. Another thing that bugs me is that there seems to be quite a few different styles of orc yet there just seems to be one body type for the elves (with slightly different hair colors). Hell, I had a hard time telling that the protagonist was even supposed to be a woman until I peeked at the character bio page.

Overall, this comic could get better with time, but as it stands, it just isn't really special. I guess my first warning should've been the fake word in the comic's title: lacryment, a bastardized form of lacrimation, though I guess titling it Elves Who Cry Excessively doesn't sound as mysterious or alluring.


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