|Take it in! Take all of it in!|
Like a dog humping your leg, James Stokoe's Orc Stain is hard to ignore. After a whirlwind of a delay since last year's single issue release, Stokoe and Image Comics finally get it right by rubbing out this masterpiece of visual insanity and barbaric extremities. To say this comic is anything but good is to spit in the almighty face of the comic gods. Orc Stain demands a ritual slaughter! Orc Stain demands flesh and bone sacrifice! Orc Stain demands the blood of your virgin daughter!
Well, what the fuck are you waiting for? Get on with it! Don't worry. No one will miss her whining ass.
Okay, good. Now let's talk shop.
What, might you ask, is so appealing about Orc Stain as a comic series? Well, my friend, before I take my copy and shove it down your blasphemous mouth, let me tell you a little about Orc Stain's story. Orc Stain is the story of a civilization of ruthless orcs under the first major rule of an orc chieftain, the Orctzar. Foretold by a soothsayer, the Orctzar must enlist upon the help of a one-eyed orc to obtain the worldly possession of the supreme Gangagronch (in orc tongue, gronch means penis--yup). Rogue orc One-Eye is our main protagonist and is unwillingly pursued by the Orctzar and his mob. One-Eye's special ability is the power to see significant weak points, allowing him to easily destroy or evade his enemies. These cat and mouse games, along with a treasure of other side characters (like the swamp witch Bowie and her sentient hood Zazu), makes Orc Stain one of the most entertaining and alluring comics to date.
Of course, no story in comics is complete without compelling and original art. The interesting thing about Orc Stain is that the entire comic is created by James Stokoe; story, pencils, inks, lettering, and coloring, the guy does it all. Anyone will notice after flipping through a couple pages of Orc Stain the intense color pallet Stokoe uses. Reds, purples, greens, and blues are the most common colors seen throughout the book and when put together they give a bruise-like quality to the art, extremely visceral and gut wrenching. Fans of Geoff Darrow, Moebius, and Hayao Miyazaki will be rewarded with Stokoe's amazing clarity and attention to detail. Even in extreme moments of action, the world's fastest comic reader will want to slow down and look at the immense detail. Character design is another plus in Stokoe's department of artistic world building. Each issue he manages to create new characters and creatures unlike anything we've yet to see in Orc Stain's previous pages.
Orc Stain #7 is no exception to any of the above mentioned delights. The long and often hopeless wait for a new issue in the series was well awarded for those who were patient. We pick up where our last issue left off, in a moment of One-Eye's history in a somewhat Orc Stain version of Vietnam. After this memory, we catch up with One-Eye and his Proxa Gronka (vow to kill) against Beard. After seeing the destruction One-Eye creates, Bowie enlists her partner Zazu to retrieve One-Eye and leave the city to experiment and understand his powerful abilities. With an extremely reluctant One-Eye (never get between an Orc and his Proxa Gronka), the three leave the catastrophic remains of the city. Once far enough to shake the horde of the Orctzar's orcs, Bowie and One-Eye strike an agreement to partner up and gain distance as far away from the Orctzar's minions as possible, leading them to the only "safe" way through the mountains--a skull ridden deathbed known as Mondo Pass. Quickly following their trail is a band of River Orcs sent to retrieve them, riding on noisy Zors (a cross between a motorcycle and an octopus). Just when One-Eye and Bowie learn about the dangers a sudden noise can make through Mondo Pass, the band of cacophonous River Orcs arrive but not before issue 7 comes to a close.
I strongly urge any comic junkie to pick up Stokoe's latest Orc Stain comic and give it a read. The issue provides enough supplemental material for any lost soul to find their way into the story and even if that doesn't sound titillating, pick it up for the sheer pleasure of seeing more action than the last Transformers movie. Yes, there is a lot of action.
One last thing I want to address is the quality of this issue. As previously mentioned Image Comics prints Orc Stain and besides all my strong points on story and art in the comic, I also recommend you flip through this comic and see the difference between most hifalutin Marvel and DC titles and a true indie gem. One of the best rewards of this comic is there is not one--and I will repeat this for the daft of reading--there is not one page of advertising in Orc Stain! That's 32 color pages for $2.99 without a single page of advertising. Even the Dark Horse comics lover that I am has to admit I don't regularly see that pass under Mike Richardson's supervision. Just goes to show what a wonderful job Image Comics is doing.
So, if this little review/soap box rant hasn't convinced you to skip out on that crummy Justice League #8, then fuck you you filthy wanker. PROXA GRONKA!