Richard on trial for … altruism!? in ‘Looking for Group’ #6

 

TNLookingGroup06CovAGibsonColLooking for Group #6
Written by Ryan Sohmer
Art by Lar DeSouza
Colors by Ed Ryzowski
Layout by Aurelie Martin
Published by Dynamite

Looking For Group #6 sees the continuation of the dysfunctional pick-up group’s quest to bring peace to the North. Cale the Elven Hunter, Richard the Warlock, Benny the Troll Priestess, Krunch the Minotaur, and Pella the Dwarf have traveled to the fabled city of Kethenecia, gone back in time to save the city, fought Richard’s rebellious imp minion and his evil forces, and, more recently, waged war on the Kingdom of Legara, a nation determined to conquer the Northlands. Despite the battles and the diplomatic intrigue, however, Richard once again basks in the limelight as issue #6 provides tantalizing tidbits of his backstory as he is brought to trial by the forces of darkness for allegedly performing good deeds while questing with Cale and company.

While finishing the fight against the sorcerous religious sect known as the Sisters, begun in issue #5, Richard attempts to interrupt a powerful spell being cast by the female wizards only to find himself banished to a remote plane of existence. Meanwhile, Cale, Benny, Krunch, Pella, and the warriors of Krunch’s tribe manage to push the Sisters and their forces out of the tribe’s stronghold. In the other dimension, Richard finds himself on trial for some alleged altruism he performed, specifically for saving the child in issue #4 and murdering the seemingly innocent villagers of Bertu in issue #3, which, it turns out, would have become the most elite and bloodthirsty soldiers of the Vullian Empire if Richard wouldn’t have intervened. Richard’s imp minion, Hctib, makes an appearance as a character witness against his warlock master. All seems lost, but Richard doesn’t seem to care. In typical Richard fashion, he toys with his enemies for as long as it amuses him before eventually destroying every last one of them. As he surveys his destruction, Richard notices that the judge is still alive. The judge, as he is taking his last few breaths, asks Richard why he did it. Richard responds saying, “I’m starting to remember. My life. Before I was turned. I recall my home, my family. I recall my lord father’s distaste of my chosen profession. It comes in flashes, waves … It comes, and it’s changing me. Like Cale, I sense that I am on a path … I have a destiny.” Shortly after this revelation, Benny and Pella manage to summon Richard back to their reality while Cale and a giant friend go on a diplomatic mission to bring the Sisters into alliance with Krunch’s tribe and the rest of the Northern Kingdoms against the Kingdom of Legara.

As is typical for this series, Ryan Sohmer expertly weaves his epic-fantasy-quest plot with no small amount of humor. However, what he reveals about Richard’s past and greater purpose is a stroke of brilliance. No matter what is going on with the rest of the characters and the part they play in this quest, Richard effortlessly steals the show with his comedy act and random acts of violence. The other characters play straight man to him, and his presence helps to alleviate the seriousness of the main story arc. Sohmer’s decision to bring out Richard’s serious side – albeit briefly – and then hint at a grand destiny for his funny man is just stupendous. This is quite clever since fans are drawn to this series more for Richard’s antics within the context of the story than anything else.

Lar DeSouza’s artwork in this series is as wonderful as ever in this issue. It is almost as if he is channeling the art departments at both Wizards of the Coast and Blizzard along with Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame. He nails the fantasy content and the comedic elements with equal aplomb.

Looking For Group #6 is another fun romp through the fantasy genre, just like the first five issues of this title. Fans of the series will love this particular issue for furthering Richard’s character development and hinting at his past and greater things to come for the murderous warlock. Anyone with a good sense of humor looking for a fantasy title to get into would do well to check out Looking For Group.

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