The Webcomics Weekly is back in your life! And this week we have “The Wyrm Turns” which just makes me want to spontaneously monologue Patton Oswalt’s style through a series of introductions to American Soap Opera. I feel like my delivery wouldn’t be as good. That said, it’s a rather melodramatic, soap opera trio of webcomics we have this week. With continued coverage of Eisner winning “Lore Olympus” and “The Uniques” both taking on heightened and aestheticized drama from different angles. “Wyrm” is actually a pretty playful fantasy riff about incompetent rulers and the people who support them.
Updates on Sundays
By Rachel Smith
Reviewed by Mel Lake
Where is Persephone? This is the main question everyone is asking as the second season of “Lore Olympus” kicks off. After a recap thanks to the Fates, we once again embark on the drama and the hijinks of the gods. With Persephone missing and a mismatched gang of gods and goddesses searching for her, this batch of episodes is full of hijinks and the kind of mistaken-identity shenanigans common in the old myths the story is based on.
Perhaps because Persephone is my least favorite character, I enjoyed those episodes that focus on her research but don’t actually feature her as a player. It’s always refreshing to step back and get an outsider’s perspective on what happened, and this batch of episodes does that, in a way. Artemis reevaluates her relationship with her roommate, Eros helps while distraught, Hades also searches while distraught, and Hecate pulls the strings as the only character in the group to have a brain cell. I’ve loved these secondary characters in the over one hundred episodes we’ve seen them, and enjoyed the chance to see them running around interacting without the distraction of Persephone’s doe eyes and an impossible waist-to-hip ratio.
The relationship between Zeus and Hera also comes to the fore here, and when Hera transforms into Persephone to trick Demeter, it brings some welcome humor back into the story. While Hera and Zeus’ loveless marriage is sad, their interactions and fallout move the story forward and have major consequences for the gods and mortals around them. So while watching the drama of an unhappy couple unfold isn’t enjoyable, it could be a sign that the plot of “Lore Olympus” might go beyond will-they-don’t-they. not back and forth from the relationship of Hades and Persephone. Interestingly, we also get a glimpse of Zeus’ perspective on Persephone’s rampage, which is predictably self-centered but also a reasonable response from a ruler. He wonders how things managed to go off the rails on his watch, which might not be the most important question for Hades, Persephone, or any of the other romantic sidekicks, but it seems like a good question for the king of the gods. wonder.
Episodes 16–18 + “Fanart and Illustration Time Out!”
By Comfort and Adam (art and history) Color Flats by various
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
Annhilgator is dealt with and the team tries to celebrate by going to the mall and discussing the finer points of what counts as a “dumb rule” to run into their biggest villains yet: The Mall Goths!
The first bit of the fight with Annhilgator is part of an episode called “Chaos in the Streets”, which is an apt title. Combat is a chaotic mess, imagine Lizardmen but with Skaven tactics. That chaos, however, is kind of what makes the art and storytelling work in this two-part fight sequence. I’ve read better webtoon fight sequences, ones that vary the size of the panel and the length of the gutter to create a rhythm for the fight to unfold. Comfort and Adam don’t really do that in this sequence, the panel design is pretty much the same and the gutter length is wide as always. It breaks everything up into isolated pockets of action that never establish a solid foundation for the reader. This creates effective chaos. The panel content itself is solid action work if a little stiff and lacking in verve. The traffic-directing motherboard is what gives the sequence just enough cohesiveness to be enjoyable and effective storytelling.
Episode 18 begins in media res with the team taking on the previously mentioned Mall Goths. While the media outlets are meant to be confusing, shocking, and once again feature motherboard traffic, this singular episode’s dose of action lacks the urgency and craftsmanship of previous ones. This sequence is confusing, not in a technically bad way, just in a somewhat bland way. I just have no reason to care other than comedic intent that I miss. The antagonist character design is period specific with a twist. The ability to riff and create characters is an underrated aspect of this book. None of this comes together to immediately give me a reason to care. It’s the start of a new arc and it’s not even the opening act, but as a singular episode, if I read this when it came out, I’d be left behind. In total, it’ll probably add something, but as it stands, it’s not immediately intriguing.
Between these episodes is a fun little behind-the-scenes strip of fanart and process breakdowns. It’s the kind of easy communicative stuff I love about webtoons, comparable to process work at the back of trades.
The Wyrm transforms
‘Hot air’ – ‘Recording’
By Jabbageart (Helen Greetham)
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
What a wonderful country Smoo is, full of knights and dragons and oh my god libraries. If only its leader were less self-centered and a little more self-aware. But then we wouldn’t have the fun tale that is “The Wyrm Turns”.
I’ve been a fan of Greetham’s work for a while. There’s a quiet playfulness to all of its stories, a tone that “Wrym Turns” picks up and uses to great effect. Set in a traditional European high fantasy setting, the main character of “Wyrm”, Pem, wants to be a knight and must slay a dragon to achieve this. Unfortunately for her, the dragon she encounters is Pphnarg the Dragon who is a bit of a mess, half a dragon, and poses no threat to anyone. So she becomes his knight! From there, hijinks ensue. One of my favorite gags from the first chapter is that he is an excellent accountant and negotiator thanks to his human accountant father.
Chapter 3, which is covered here, is all about DragonconMT and seems set to expand on Pphnarg and its relationship with the larger dragon world. What we’ve seen so far has me excited, in part because Pphnarg fits the character’s trope that recreates modern technology in a fantasy world with the aesthetic and technological level of the Middle Ages, like electric lights or an airship. to hydrogen. I love this kind of character and you can’t help but identify with the guy. He does his best and although his best is not always very good, I think Pem will be a good influence on him.
As for the art, it’s been a while since I read a webcomic whose visuals have that quintessential “webcomic” look rather than a more contemporary “webtoons” look. There’s definitely a looseness to the character models and a flatness to the background and colors. Some readers may be discouraged by this. While the draft didn’t blow my mind, for me the story and character highlights, as well as my enjoyment of it all, make this a moot point. I especially like the addition of a grainy filter to the whole comic to give it a bit of an aged look.
In three chapters, “The Wyrm Turns” more than pleaded to be read and keep the story going in an interesting and fun way. The adventures of Pem & Pphnarg are just beginning. The same goes for your reading of this comic.