Looking For Group #4
Written by Ryan Sohmer
Art by Lar DeSouza
Colors by Ed Ryzowski
Layout by Aurelie Martin
Published by Dynamite
Looking For Group #4 continues Sohmer’s and DeSouza’s comedic tale about a group of mismatched, but goodhearted, adventurers. This series weaves a great deal of fantasy fiction and MMORPG tropes into every issue, and issue #4 does not break from that formula. LFG always blends plenty of comedy into its story arcs, too, and this issue does not disappoint in that regard. With the appearance of Richard’s mistreated and angry imp minion, Hctib, as an enemy, issue #4 actually raises the comedy factor a couple of levels.
Before going into the story synopsis, take a moment to contemplate Richard’s imp’s name: Hctib. Read it backward and forward. Write it down and hold it up to a mirror if you have to. Once you get the meaning of the name you’ll understand exactly what Richard thinks of his minion and why Hctib may want to bring his warlock master down a notch or two. Also, the little hell-spawn gets his own special lettering – it is red and yellow, looks like it is on fire, and is written without spaces between words (“Thewretchedthinghasbeenfound,” for example) – and he frequently says things like, “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” as he runs around frantically causing chaos. In short, Hctib comes very close to (but not quite) stealing the show from Richard. Now, with that out of the way, on to the synopsis.
Cale, Benny, Krunch, Richard, and the recently recruited dwarf, Pella, have found the lost city of Kethenecia. As the group plan out what to do next, a man from a nearby village comes to the city looking for help as his village has come under attack by an army of elementals. On the way to the village they encounter Hctib, who runs screaming straight at Richard, whom he attacks by jumping onto his face and pounding on his head with one, puny fist while screaming, “Yourdoomisathand!” While the attack seems like a pathetic attempt, it is actually a powerful magic attack that leaves Richard miniaturized and powerless, a “Little Dick” as Cale points out. The group proceeds to the village, finds out who is behind the elemental army, and saves the village. This, however, is not as straight forward as it sounds, and there are some major plot twists involved along with quite a lot of character development for both Cale and Richard.
As stated above, comedy is played up in this issue, likely as an effort by Sohmer to help ease the mood after some of those deeper Cale and Richard moments. On page nine, Krunch points out how devoid of life Kethenecia is, but also how that seems to be reversing. He says, “That which was bereft of life will bloom once more.” Richard responds saying, “We can fix that,” but Krunch won’t let him use the spell he was preparing to destroy a nearby tree. Richard says, “I was just going to look. With fire. And lightning. And reanimated chipmunks. And raccoons. On fire.” DeSouza provides five panels worth of art showcasing Richard’s pondering, which serves to punctuate this already funny section of the script. The Little Dick moments are laugh-out-loud funny with Richard turned into what amounts to a chibi version of himself. Benny, in a mischievous mood, tells Richard she has found a mount for him which turns out to be a rabbit with a saddle and death’s head bridle. On page 22, Richard, desperate as he is still in his Little Dick form, kneels down to pray in his own warlock-y way, and be sure there has never been a prayer quite like this one ever uttered.
To put it bluntly, this is probably the best issue of Looking for Group that has been published by Dynamite to date. As expected, Sohmer works plenty of D&D and MMORPG tropes into his script along with a larger dose of comedy, but it is DeSouza’s artwork that truly stands out in this issue. His rendering of Hcitb, Richard, and Little Dick take Sohmer’s funny script into realms of hilarity. Even those comic readers not normally into the sword and sorcery would enjoy this issue for the comic relief alone. Hopefully, once they are snagged that way they will give the rest of the LFG series a shot, because it is a truly good book as fans of the series already know.