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Review: Orcs, Forged for War Graphic Novel

Written by Geek Readers on Monday, October 31 2011 and posted in Reviews

Review for the graphic novel Orcs, Forged For War, a prequel to Stan Nichols Orcs series of novels.

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

Story by: Stan Nichols
Adapted and Drawn by: Joe Flood
Published by: First Second Books


You may have already seen Stan Nichols' Orcs in the fantasy section, as he has written a couple of trilogies that have been collected into oversized paperbacks.  I have yet to try them out, but the great close-up on the orc face definitely catches my attention.  When I saw this prequel graphic novel, I decided to give it a go since having read the other books would not be a requirement.
A little too 'Red Dawn' for me
At first I felt like the art and story were a bit simple.  I was often thinking how it felt like I was reading something aimed at kids, aside from the extremely high level of violence in the book of course.  It made an interesting contrast and I sort of settled into the art as the story went on, feeling like I was reading a Disney tale gone evil.  The story unfortunately never really made it far past feeling simplistic to me, however.

  The world is set up so that orcs aren't really the evil creatures; humans are normally the villains here.  They have flooded the lands of the ancient races and overpopulated and polluted, hurting the flow of magic and causing the northern ice shelf to expand south.  Sounds like an interesting parallel to what is happening in our own world, huh?  I don't normally read stories to try and find flaws, but when something smacks me in the face it's hard to ignore.  I was constantly questioning how a population in a roughly medieval setting could cause the sort of planetary damage that we are causing with today's industry after centuries of damage, and if the population was that large then why they would even be fighting these other races as they would easily be overrun?  But I started to feel a bit anal about that, so I ignored that nagging feeling and just went on with the story.

Did he just taste that goo that killed everyone?
  Time and again, though, both the plot and dialogue were just overly simplistic.  If this had truly been a kids book I think I would have more easily ignored it, but with the depiction of violence, drugs and nudity it was definitely for adults.  It created a contrast that, at times, was distracting me from being able to get into the story.

However, I think if you are able to get past the things that bothered me a bit, you might enjoy this as a sort of gory fairy tale.  The characters were fun and the pace of the book kept moving along.  By the end I got more enjoyment out of the book than I thought I might halfway through.  It reminds you that not every story has to be complex to be enjoyed.  

Although I think fans of Nichol's novels might enjoy this, it is not necessary to have read any of them to get into this graphic novel.  If the idea of a twisted fairy tale appeals to you, check it out.

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Review: Orcs, Forged for War Graphic Novel

Review by: Geek Readers

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About the Author - Jeremy Shane

Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea.  Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California.  When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead.  Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim.  If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.


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