Anyone who has ever played a massively multiplayer online role playing game has had to suffer through the agony of posting “LFG” in chat, then waiting an eternity to get picked up by a group, only to discover that the group in question is a hastily thrown together PUG (pick-up group) that has little chance of finding the dungeon let alone clearing it. This is what the creative team of Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza had in mind when creating the laugh-out-loud comedic tales told in their Looking For Group series. LFG #2 follows such a hastily thrown together group of adventurers on their continuing quest to find the legendary city of Kethenecia.
LFG #2 finds Cale, the hunter, and his faithful companion, Sooba the panther, along with fellow adventurers Benny, the troll cleric, Krunch, the Minotaur (or Tauren to the WoW players out there), and Richard, the undead – and brilliantly funny – warlock, searching for the mysterious “Shriek,” a spirit that will supposedly guide them to Kethenecia. Cale ends up going through a portal conjured by the Shriek and ends up going back in time to discover some secrets about the Elves and a thing or two about Kethenecia as well. After Cale returns, some evil Elves chase the haggard group who elude them and manage to get transport on a pirate ship, The Father’s Bones, captained by Tah’Vraay, a beautiful but deadly female Dark Elf. Cale, Richard, and company set sail to Kethenecia, but find betrayal and intrigue – and some vicious sand dragons – standing in their way. Sohmer’s story, begun in LFG #1, is expertly crafted and has a nice balance of action and humor.
DeSouza’s art style reflects his and Sohmer’s biggest inspiration for this series, World of Warcraft. Cale, Richard, Benny, and Krunch are each representative of races found on the Horde side of WoW, and the way Sohmer draws them reflects that fact. However, he also brings his own individual style to the table and blends both of these into something unique to the characters of LFG. Of all the characters, Richard the undead warlock, with his love for wanton destruction and penchant for random murder, is drawn with the most panache, and that is to be expected since Richard consistently steals the show throughout this series.
To showcase just what Richard means to this comic, and this series in general, one needs only to look at a few scenes from this issue. After Cale’s lengthy jaunt into the past, he comes back to find that he and his companions are being attacked by some rogue Elves. As he rushes into battle, and remembering the Elf king who gave his life so others could live, he shouts, “For Gamlon!” Richard, standing next to him, shouts, “For pony!” Cale tells him that his battle cry stands for nobility and honor, while Richard’s is just stupid, to which Richard responds, “Mine is for ponies … For pony!” At the end of the issue, each of the characters reflects on what finding Kethenecia will mean for them. After Cale, Benny, and Krunch speak, they all look at Richard who states, “I like to kill things. How is that not clear by now?” Through the magic of Sohmer’s writing and DeSouza’s art, Richard turns what would be just another fantasy story into a fun-filled romp of slapstick humor, one-liners, and flaming kittens. (Seriously, Richard sets a couple of kittens on fire to illustrate a point on page 19.)
If you play a massively multiplayer online role playing game, or if you just enjoy a good fantasy tale that mixes humor with adventure, you need to read Looking For Group. Notice that is not “you should read Looking for Group,” but “you need to read Looking for Group.” Start with the first issue, then read this one, then pick up every issue thereafter. You won’t be disappointed. “For Pony!”