Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Andrew Wheeler
Artist: Paulina Ganucheau
Release Date: 25th May, 2016
As solidly impressive as Another Castle has been so far, this latest issue takes things to a whole new level by injecting some rather well-reasoned logic into the familiar “vanquish the baddie, save the kingdom” ideology. In particular, the fact that just because Misty vanquishes Lord Badlug, that doesn’t necessarily mean things will suddenly be all flowers and parties for the people of Grimoire.
It’s a brilliant decision by Wheeler to throw this little wrinkle into the proceedings, casting some serious doubt about whether Misty’s master plan is actually as smart as it initially seems. As Zuurd the Witch points out, the death of Badlug will undoubtedly cause a war as the power vacuum demands to be filled, and we all know that the “best” men don’t always win wars. Once again, this twist serves as a brilliant example of Another Castle cheerfully subverting the tropes of the genre, making for an endearing, engaging and utterly unique read in the process.
This issue also gives Prince Pete more of a chance to shine, displaying his innate likeability nature as he composes his own victory poem while making his way effortlessly through the previously paid-off gauntlet of monsters (“When I write about this encounter, would it be rude to say I slew you?”). He may not be anywhere near as mighty a warrior as Misty, but just as this book has emphatically proven the fact that women don’t need to be manly in order to “kick ass”, this issue also proves that you don’t need to be a powerful, monster-slaying badass to be a great guy either.
Loveable henchmen/jailors Gorga and Formath also get a little more character development here, with the former showing some genuine concern for both Misty and Pete as she is forced to push her Gorgon abilities to their limits, and the latter’s ex-boyfriend perhaps holding the key to resolving the whole messy situation as painlessly as possible.
Visually, Ganucheau does a fantastic job once again with her character design, particularly during the montage of the now happy, content “monsters”. Her artwork remains bright, bold and colourful, giving the book a wonderful sense of charm throughout. She also adds a few impressive moments of subtlety along the way, like the tears in Gorga’s eyes as she rushes to save Prince Pete, or the thinly veiled frustration on Misty’s face as Zuurd gives her a hefty dose of reality.
In my review of the last issue, I said that while it wasn’t necessarily for me, I absolutely loved the fact that comics like Another Castle were on the shelves. Well, after this latest issue, I’m starting to think that this comic might actually be for me after all. It’s sharply written, gorgeously illustrated and packed with humour, intelligence and important messages that never come across as preachy. Seek this one out, check your preconceptions at the door, and thank me later.
If you want to find out more about Another Castle, make sure to check out our interview with creators Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau by CLICKING HERE.
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