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Comic Review: Orcs! #1

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor

Who needs a story about vampires, werewolves, or zombies when you can have one about orcs!


Writer & Illustrator: Christine Larsen

Orcs! #1 introduces readers to a team of rambunctious orcs adventuring through the Known World and discovering all the treasure it holds. It’s a light and humorous comic, one that will amuse both kids and adults alike. It is written and illustrated by comic artist Christine Larsen, who has worked on such licensed comics as Samurai Jack and Kung Fu Panda, and the creator-owned Valentine.

Orcs! #1 contains three tales: Golden Nuts, The Siren’s Curse, and Vision Quest. They serve as an introduction to some of the many characters Larsen will weave together and expand upon in future issues. She builds a world of not only orcs as the title suggests, but of other mythical races and creatures to come.

Golden Nuts is the main plot of the issue. It spotlights the abominable heroes of the comic: Bog and his misfit team of Utzu, twins Pez and Zep, and Gurh. They hunt for a secret treasure that turns out a little too easy to find, and come face-to-face with formidable enemies. In the short tale, The Siren’s Quest, Larsen takes us backwards in time to the legendary days of Drod One-Eye, the famed orc explorer, who mapped out the Known World in the first place. It outlines how Drod came to discover an island reaped in mystery. Finally, in Vision Quest, readers learn about the Wise Woman and why she needs to be locked out of the herb cabinet.

Orcs! #1 is an enjoyable and amusing read. The plot isn’t game-changing, full of depth or high stakes, but it is a fun comic to get in a few laughs. It functions more like a Sunday funny than a full blown comic, something you would read during your break. With that said, this particular issue seems better suited for older children who would wholeheartedly appreciate and embrace the type of humor Larsen implements. I can imagine my own nieces and nephews snickering away at all the silly situations the orcs get themselves into. It’s carefree, zany, and sure to put a smile on any child’s face.

The main characters are engaging and respectively distinct, complete with personality and spunk. There is Bog, the leader of the group who doesn’t seem all that reliable or fit to lead. There’s Utzu, Bog’s smarter, but ill-tempered number two. There are fraternal twins Pez and Zep, who are nothing alike. One is a fraidy cat while the other is… well the other one looks like a ninja for some reason. Then there is Gurh, the orc of few words. Together, they make up a ragtag team that complement each other well. They’re not the brightest group of orcs, but they get the job done in style. Drog, explorer extraordinaire, is another entertaining character. How one simple-minded, battle hungry orc has survived long enough to map out the Known World is beyond me.

The art is Larsen’s strongest suit. It’s adorable and lively. Each orc is unique, fitted with different traits, clothing, and comical expressions. Much of the hilarity that ensues is not in what the characters are saying, but how they’re portrayed as saying it. The only minor problem with the art’s storytelling is some of its unclear transitions. It is most noticeable when the story jumps from one setting to the next. Additionally, because the comic is set in black and white, a few scenes are hard to make out. Due to transitional reasons, it was difficult to see where the tale Vision Quest began, and where it ended.

Orcs! #1 sets up an interesting and hilarious world full of orcs and more. It isn’t particularly my type of story, but it remains to be fun and something to try out. You can preview 8-pages here.  You can also pre-order your hardcopy from Larsen’s website until January 15. Happy reading!