Review: Wander: Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingdom #1A comic review article by: Steve Morris
Treading familiar territory in a fun, light-hearted story which sends a modern New York woman to go live inside a World of Warcraft-style fantasy land for a bit, Kevin Church and Grace Allison's Wander is entertaining and assured. Starting in medias res, which is a Latin term I like to throw into reviews sometimes because it makes me seem posh and smart, the story sees Olive Hopkins get fired, drunk, and sent into another world, for no apparent reason. A world with orcs (or are they trolls?), elves and dwarves.
It's a fun story, albeit one which was handled with greater (R-Rated) aplomb in the webseries The Legend of Neil and countless other webcomics. While the creative team do a great job with the setting, characters and pacing, this is the sort of thing we've now seen numerous other times on the internet. Olive acts like a modern, contemporary person, and is frustrated by the archaic nature of the fantasy world she's stranded in. It's nothing new, which means the creative team have to work hard to make sure the quality of this story stays high enough to justify a purchase.
Which they do, with some considerable ease. Allison's artwork in particular is excellently suited to comedy, with a natural comedic timing and a cartoonish quality to the characters which makes them distinctive and silly, whilst still fitting in with the general tone you'd expect from a fantasy setting. The script from Church is strong and self-aware from the start, making sure never to be annoying in the nudge-nudge references it makes to the genre it essentially mocks. And the characters are stock stereotypes, but fun for their revelry in their own clichés.
Wander stands alongside the rest of the Monkeybrain releases as something lightweight and enjoyable, although eternally throwaway in nature. If you buy it, you'll enjoy it.
Steve Morris is the head and indeed only writer for Comics Vanguard, the internet's 139th most-favorite comic-book website. You can find him on Twitter at @stevewmorris, which is mostly nonsensical gibberish you may enjoy or despise. His favorite Marvel character is Darkstar, while his favorite DC character is, also, Darkstar. He's on Team X-Men, you guys.