Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review - Looking for Group #1


"The look on your face is a memory I will treasure forever."

A warlock and an elf walk into a bar. For some, that may be the start of a bad joke. For others, it's just another scenario one may find oneself in during a game of Dungeons and Dragons or another RPG. It's also a scenario to be found in Looking For Group #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, a new issue that blends together a slew of fantasy elements for a fun story. The issue is written by Ryan Sohmer, illustrated by Lar Desouza and colored by Ed Ryzowski.

Looking For Group is a hilarious ride through Fantasy and Adventure tropes, set in a reality and time unlike our own. A place where the eating of small children is not necessarily frowned upon; where beings of extraordinary power can destroy entire villages with only "because I could" as an excuse; where magic and adventure are as common place as setting fire to then reanimating a chipmunk into a skeletal minion (it happens more than you'd think); and an epic journey can begin by an accident of fate.

Finding itself snugly in the fantasy camp, Looking For Group #1 manages to work in just about every trope possible to give it that creative sensibility. Sohmer's packs the issue with tons of story (almost too much) that introduces key players and gives them plenty of interaction with one another. Those interactions do tend to grow organically and Sohmer doesn't force things; instead, the nature of the quest brings them all together, often in amusing ways. Each character brings with them characteristics that fit comfortably within expected stereotypes of said character, adding to the entertainment when they interact with one another. Looking For Group #1 is very densely packed with dialogue as well, ensuring that the story is completely addressed.

The abundance of dialogue does make the artwork feel a little cramped. Because there are so many dialogue bubbles, every page feels a little too crowded and it's often difficult to track the conversation. Desouza does a decent job of compensating for this, yet his work is still mostly hidden behind the aforementioned dialogue bubbles. Characters boast a playful appearance that underscores the seeming inanity of the story itself, as Desouza's work promises to prevent the reader from taking Looking For Group #1 too seriously. Panels are likewise crowded on the pages as well and each page just feels so densely packed together that it's a little overwhelming at times for the reader.

Looking For Group #1 hits a lot of checkboxes for fans of the type of story. There are fantasy and questing elements in the story that come together pretty cleanly, making for what it essentially a pretty fun adventure. Sohmer's script isn't shy about the dialogue, packing in so much that it feels a little much at times. Desouza's illustrations are a good match for the tone of the story, as it provides characters and settings not meant to be taken too seriously by the reader. Looking For Group #1 will appeal to fans of the genre and hits all the right notes, delivering a tale that's equal parts dangerous and outlandish.

Looking For Group #1 is in stores now.

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