Looking For Group #5
Written by Ryan Sohmer
Art by Lar DeSouza
Colors by Ed Ryzowski
Layout by Aurelie Martin
Published by Dynamite
After defeating Richard’s former imp minion in issue #4, the sharp-witted warlock and his companions, Cale, Benny, Krunch, and Pella, are back for more fantasy MMORPG-style antics. Issue #5 sees the progression of the main story arc as Cale continues to pursue his destiny by destroying the Vulii and their Kingdom of Legara. And, more importantly, Richard continues to wreak havoc in ever more entertaining and hilarious ways.
The book opens with the dysfunctional pick-up group at sea heading for the northlands. After they make landfall, they scout the area and find a rather large outpost housing “over two hundred soldiers, including six battlemages and two clerics.” Cale, stupidly, decides to attack and the whole party gets captured and, to Richard’s delight, tortured – while being broken out of the prison, Richard asks, “Are we leaving the spa?” It seems that Ray’d Bool, Krunch’s brother, and some of his warriors got wind of the group’s capture and arrived to help them escape. During their subsequent journey north to see Krunch’s war chief father, they get ambushed by a giant and then by The Sisters before finally learning just what Krunch’s father’s role is in the northward expansion of the Kingdom of Legara. Sprinkled in between all of this seriousness, Richard works his magic – the funny magic as well as the necromantic kind.
Our first meeting with Richard, on page seven, in issue #5 is while the group is still onboard the ship. Cale looks as though he is flying a kite, but, in fact, it is Richard at the end of the string. He is shooting lightning bolts at passing sea life. Cale calls him “Dick on a kite.” On page nine, just before the failed attack on the outpost, Cale mentions that an attempt to sneak in wouldn’t work since they would be recognized, especially Krunch, the Tauren/Minotaur. Richard, as usual, has a solution. He holds up a sack that is dripping blood and says, “Luckily, with my foresight, I have secured us the necessary disguises.” In the next panel, he is seen wearing the chainmail armor of a guard as well as having the guard’s decapitated and still bleeding head perched on top of his cowl like a hat. He says, “In unrelated news, there was an armed patrol in the area.” On page 13, while hanging from shackles in the prison, Richard points out that, “I like the ambience in here.” When Benny asks, “How did the torture go?” he replies, “Aside from the water boarding, not bad,” before asking one of the guards, “Who do I give the gratuity to? I want to make sure it gets to Landor (the interrogator).” But the absolute best Richard moment in the book, and arguably in the series, is during the fight against The Sisters starting on page 32. The party is surrounded by The Sisters and Cale says, “I don’t know if I can strike at unarmed women.” Richard says, “I like Cale’s strike at unarmed women initiative. All in favor?” Then he begins to dance and sing: “We’re no strangers to love / You know the rules and so do I, / A full commitments what I’m thinking of, / you wouldn’t get this from any other guy. / I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling, / gotta make you understand … / Never gonna give you up / Never gonna let you down …” and at the end of it all, after he burns all The Sisters to a crisp, he says, “You got Dick Roll’d.”
Sohmer and DeSouza, through expert writing and artistry, continue to provide one hell of an entertaining read. The epic quest plot, which features plenty of battles and tons of fantasy fiction tropes, is top notch while the humor Sohmer infuses into every issue keeps things from turning too Lord of the Rings-esque. DeSouza’s art captures all the flavor of World of Warcraft mixed with the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, but, like the script, spiced with an extra bit of humor. His renderings of Richard really stand-out, just take a look at the panels on page 33 featuring the dancing for his Dick Roll’d bit for example.
As with the previous issues of Looking for Group, issue #5 is worth the cover price for Richard’s antics alone. This is an excellent series featuring high fantasy adventure and plenty of humor. MMORPG and pen and paper RPG players as well as fantasy fans of any stripe should not miss out on this series.