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Review: Deprived

Today’s comic is a bit different than the usual ones I’ve reviewed in the past. Instead of a completely original world populated by characters and creatures from the creator’s very own mind, this is a fan comic based in the world of Dark Souls 3, a very tough RPG style game set in a Medival fantasy world filled with knights, magic, dragons, and horribly hard boss fights.

Deprived: A Dark Souls Story tells the tale of an unkindled woman namedAshemma who wakes up in a graveyard with no memory of who she is, aside from her own name of course, or where she came from. After a quick lesson she learns that she will have to fight to survive in this new and frightening place, so she grabs the only things that seem to have been left for her, an old wooden shield and club, and an Estus flask, a strange creation used by undead to heal wounds and restore vitality. So begins our heroine’s journey to discover the secrets of Lothric, as well as the secrets of herself.

While I’m not usually a big reader of fan comics, not out of any malice or anything they just don’t really interest me, this is what I would call a diamond in the rough. After marathoning the games, playing them as well as watching playthroughs of them, I fell deeply in love with the world that was crafted by all the developers of this series. It’s bloody and full of plenty of action and harsh punishments for making even the smallest mistake, but once you learn and start to adapt it becomes a harrowing experience to play. 

The story of Deprived follows closely with the story of DS3 so if you want to learn more about that perhaps think about checking out the games or even watching some Let’s Plays for them, I will be focusing on Ashemma’s character mostly for this review.

Ashemma is frightened, courageous, strong, and unrelenting but more than anything she is alone. In this strange solitude, she seems to have found an odd comfort in the memories of the souls of enemies she defeats.From a man sharing a tender kiss with beautiful woman to a young boy born with a deformity who found companionship in a small dog she slowly becomes attached to these memories, still capable of knowing they are separate from herself but holding these small preserved moments of these long forgotten people close to her heart and feeling genuine emotion when the threat of losing them looms before her. This is a wonderful touch in my opinion as it gives the souls you collect through the game a much deeper meaning and a connection for you to grasp onto. It gives Ashemma opportunities to develop as a character as you see her reactions to each one, even going as far as to give a polite cough while blushing when she “sees” the kiss scene. I can only imagine what other memories she will see as she progresses through Lothric. I am particularly excited about the fact that the artist has said that they will be accurate to the game as much as possible right down to item and enemy placement. So we will not only get to see our young heroine grow as a character but also as a fearsome warrior. 

Another fun note that I want to add is that so far this entire story is being told through mostly a visual style, which is one of my favorite ways to execute a comic. It relies on the action of each panel and the expressions of Ashemma to tell its narrative. Now, I did say “mostly” because if you so choose there are also lines for a novelesque story written beneath each page(after the Prologue) that are Ashemma’s “voice”. While not having actual spoken lines we basically read the thoughts she has about the actions of each page. She gives an account of what happens to her and how she feels afterward. It is executed wonderfully so that you can enjoy this story with or without the added written portion, but I highly suggest you read it if you would like to build a closer connection to Ashemma.

The art is a perfect match for the story. Mostly in black and white, with small splashes of color here and there including Ashemma’s eyes and her flask. It captures the dark and twisted world of Dark Souls 3 beautifully. In all honesty, I thought this was an official project sanctioned by the Dark Souls dev. team. Imagine how surprised I was to find it was actually the work of dedicated fans. I can only imagine how the artists will add their own flare to future enemies and I am incredibly eager to find out.

If “fan comics” is a genre, I would make Deprived my top pick for it hands down. It tells the story of the game amazingly but through the eyes of a character that we can become attached to and watch develop instead of something we customize then just pump thousands upon thousands of souls into so we can beat the next boss. We panic when Ashemma is in danger, we cry when she cries, and we feel proud as she defeats an incredibly difficult enemy. I look forward with great pleasure to adding this wonderful tale to the world of Dark Souls in my personal canon, and hope you find the time to give it a chance as well.

If you’d like to help out and support the makers of this comic check out their Patreon over here and if you’d like to just keep up with their work, in general, why not follow them over @endrianmanga . Like my reviews? Feel like supporting me in some way? Why not check out my own Patreon right over here?

And, as always, I hope you enjoy as much as I do.