Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thank Goodness for Herald Owlett Volume 2


(Herald Owlett comes packaged inside a plain envelope decorated with a sticker. Above is the envelope, on the left, and the covr of the actual comic, on the right.)

By Nikki Stu
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I’m not sure if I’ve ever read another comic that uses the style of video games in the same way as Herald Owlett. The boss (bad guy) is too huge and impossible to defeat? Well you clearly have to run around the level (setting) and destroy all of its power generators. Each one is vulnerable to a specific type of attack! The video game comparisons don’t end there, as there are also super moves, arms exploding into pixels, and other awesome stuff.

None of that is meant as a criticism of Herald Owlett, but rather a compliment. It’s done with such style that I don’t care that the plot is just an excuse for a fight and could have been lifted from any number of video games. I mean, I love video games!

The action is fun, the character designs are good (flower fairies!), and there’s clearly a bunch of back story with the characters (though part of me feels I will only ever discover this by reading the non-existant instruction manual). Owlett is a forest wizard/bushwatcher, his enemy Bufu (some sort of evil elf-monster thing) has hired a much bigger monster to kill him. They fight! Yeah!

Stu’s art style is really fun. While all of the characters that appear are monsters (of some kind or another), they’re never really scary or anything. The main monster appears as a giant black blotch on the background, and its look remind me of some of the characters from Samurai Jack.

Herald Owlett is pretty cool looking too: with five eyes asymmetrically laid out on his face, solar panels, and bizarre antlers. You’re not really sure what sort of creature he’s supposed to be until Stu reveals in the back of the book that he’s “a mixture of bird, mammal, reptile and insect, with a dash of plant”. This might just mean that Stu can give Owlett any power the story demands, but I thought it was pretty cute.

The design of the characters makes me really want to play a Herald Owlett video game. I’d love to see a 3-D, cel shaded version of the giant monster Owlett is fighting in this comic.

There are occasional panels where I’m not really sure what’s happening, but it’s not a major problem. I’m also really happy to see that Stu has started hand lettering this, as the computer fonts used in volume one where one of my only complaints. Stu’s told me she’s busy working away on volume three, and I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out.

Now back to listening to the music from Kirby Super Star.

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