Friday, September 25, 2015

Review - Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands


"We've got seven lands left and all the momentum in the world!"

Farlaine the Goblin is, well, a goblin. He's journeying across the Oddlands of Wug to find a home and that journey continues in Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands published by Studio Farlaine. The issue is written and illustrated anonymously

Farlaine the Goblin, a tree goblin shaman from the Forest of Fin-Din, has spent years wandering the very many Oddlands of Wug (hundreds!) in search of a forest to call his own. He only has 10 lands left. He's on this journey with his only friend, his tree Ehrenwort, who's slung over his shoulder and constantly giving him an earful. Farlaine and Ehrenwort continue through the remaining lands, none of which sound promising - The Tinklands, The Saltlands, The Racelands, The Twistlands, The Winglands, The Vaultlands, The Traplands, etc. If they finish exploring the world without finding a forest, poor Ehrenwort will wither and die, and Farlaine will wander like a ronin forever.

There's a lot of adventuring going on in Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands as Farlaine is continuing his quest across the various lands in search of a home. The writer's foray into the Twistlands just as busy and he offers to the reader an area teeming with local charm. That charm is mostly presented by the two "guides" Farlaine encounters, offering plenty of knowledge about the area that proves invaluable to both Farlaine and the reader. The dialogue is adept at guiding the reader through the new territory quite effortlessly, although there is an abundance of made-up words that come off as a little overwhelming at first. And while the book is on the longer side in terms of pages, the pacing feels appropriate and the reader doesn't get bogged down in scenarios where it feels like Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands is wasting pages.

It's clear from the get-go that Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands is intended to be an all-ages comic and the illustrator maintains that approach in terms of the art. Farlaine is illustrated about as huggable as a goblin can be, presented with wide-eyes and a large nose that screams stuffed animal. The other characters in Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands feel just as friendly in appearance and even though this is a book about a goblin in a foreign land, none of the panels feel particularly terrifying. Every page lays out panels in a very clean grid format that also offers the book a newspaper strip appeal. And while the book is in black and white, it's presented so simply that color would honestly take away from the simplicity of the characters and the story itself.

Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands is an adventure book with a lot of sincerity, seemingly drawing upon some of Jim Henson's works as inspiration. Farlaine checks off every box as a lovable lead, fighting through any and all obstacles to simply find a home. The script is very snappy and offer's an all-ages appeal, but there are a few instances where the colloquial nature of Farlaine's speech get a little confusing. Artistically, the book maintains a simple approach that works extremely well in conveying the adventure. Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands is a great book that is well-conceived and taps into a more heartwarming sentiment than fantasy adventure stories typically do.

Farlaine the Goblin: Twistlands will be available September 30.

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