Wander: Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingdom is my jam. It was briefly discussed in the Nerdcenaries MonkeyBrain Roundtable how we don’t need to be handheld in comics and how a good comic should feel free to toss us into the pool. Wander: Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingdom does a great job introducing us to the water. Find out more after the jump.
I’ve got to say that finally seeing a comic that starts in media res is a great thing especially because a lot of the MonkeyBrain titles we’ve seen with weird worlds start at the boring and predicatable beginning and take a while to get to the meat. So thank you Kevin Church for starting us in the weird world that the title we are promised is fantastic and the rest of the comic holds up.
Olive is a much surlier female hero than we’ve been treated to so far and it honestly makes me like her. She isn’t trying to save the world or deal with some existential quandry – she wants a smoke and a slice of pizza. And I think everyone can get that – our basic human desires overriding the sense of wonder. It is a jaded fantasy heroine teaming up with an elf and a dwarf and creating what might be my favorite MonkeyBrain title.
The comic still does get into backstory of Olive but not before getting us invested in the fantasy world and it does a great job filling that world with vibrant characters who are fleshed out incredibly well within a few lines. Kevin Church knows what he is doing when he writes.
Artistically Grace Allison does a fantastic job as the illustrator for the series providing strong linework for the series, a great color palette and giving the entire comic a soft fantasy feel that work.
For the first issue it introduces a fair amount of world, only some exposition tied in with some foreshadowing and event priming but it all flows naturally enough to hook me in.
The series may be one of the breakouts along with Bandette and Edison Rex and it shows Kevin Church’s experience as a writer while Grace Allison displays strong artistic work.
Also I’d be remiss to not mention the great lettering work by Josh Hrcah