So fun fact for today’s review, the creator actually contacted me via twitter to check out their comic. Pretty awesome when people actively want a critique of their work, always puts a smile on my face when someone asks me for a review since it happens so rarely. Now then, onto the important bits.
Monster Lands is a “fantasy/dramedy” about an axe-wielding adventurer named Othera and her adventures through a strange and rather unique world full of rather…. Interesting people which include but are not limited to: Talking trees, The Necromancer, a swindler, a tyrant (who appears to not handle criticism as well as she should), and many others.
Our story opens up with Othera happening upon a village that is unable to visit the nearby river thanks to some evil trees, you remember right? The talking ones I mentioned? Yeah, turns out they’re a right bunch of jerks. Of course, our heroine attempts to teach them other ways to find fun that doesn’t include harassing the locals but inevitably results in all the trees being chopped down. When she comes back she is shocked to find some scrawny kid taking credit for her good deed and making a profit from it. Words are exchanged, a challenge is issued by a fairy, and events don’t go quite as you would think.
This story is pretty fun as it makes some rather clever jokes about the fantasy genre as a whole, but at the same time really shows its love for it as well. It takes the time to slowly build this fascinating world while still working to entertain you without subtracting from the story. My favorite chapter so far is probably the one titled “Ship Approaching” that doesn’t appear to have any connection to the rest of the cast as of yet but seems to be setting up for something. It is a fun side story that I hope is revisited again later on.
The art style in the first few pages are very heavy on the black “inking” I guess you could call it. It feels like they were supposed to be done in black and white but suddenly the artist decided to do it in color. As things progress they seem to ease up and let the colors breath, not choking them out with so many dark areas like before. Honestly, I can’t wait to see how the art improves even further down the line.
Also, as a side note, for some reason, while reading Monster Lands I started thinking about those old Archie comics from way back when. Not sure why but this comic really hit me with some nostalgia for those. Might check out that reboot they started a while ago.
Anyways, this is a fun love letter to the fantasy genre. Give it a read and see if you can spot any references that I missed.
And, as always, I hope you enjoy as much as I do.
If you wanna keep up with Monster Lands why not consider following it on Tumblr @monsterlands , Twitter @James_L_Nelson, and facebook. If you like my reviews and want to show some support I have a patreon page as well. Every little bit helps!