Comic Review: The Guild, Volume 2

The Guild, Volume 2
Written by Felicia Day, Jeff Lewis, Sean Becker, Kim Evey, Sandeep Parikh
Pencils by Darick Robertson, Kristian Donaldson, Ron Chan, Becky Cloonan, Tim Seeley
Inks by Ron Chan, Becky Cloonan
Colors by Dave Stewart
Covers by Georges Jeanty
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 27, 2012
Cover Price: $14.99

The Guild: Volume 2 collects the one-shot comic released for each member of the Knights of Good: Vork, Tink, Bladezz, Clara, and Zaboo. Each comic delves into the characters’ lives away from The Game and sheds a little more light on their personalities and motivations. These stories are not exactly earth-shattering revelations, but they’re brief, fun, focused explorations into the characters that fans love. Watching at least the first season of The Guild web series is a prerequisite to reading this collection. However, if you have not yet read the first volume of The Guild, fear not, this volume completely stands on its own.

Fans of The Guild undoubtedly have their favorite Knights of Good characters. Mine is the leader of the Knights of Good, Vork. He’s obsessively cheap and orderly. He’s also incredibly literal; my favorite scene in this chapter is the very beginning where he reveals why he plays the game the way he does. In this comic, we discover that Vork takes care of his retiree grandfather. While Vork follows rules to the letter, his loose cannon grandfather aligns somewhere around Chaotic Good””possibly Evil. In this play on opposites, Vork must reconcile his differences with his grandfather and learn to compromise with his inferiors””er, guildmates.

Tinkerballa’s story is perhaps the most complex in this collection. Not that any Guild comic aims for a large degree of plot intricacy. These comics, like the web-series, are lighthearted and seek solely to entertain MMO fans (or their significant others) with a little harmless, self-reflective humor. Tink, a notoriously distant college student, plays her cards close to her chest. Even though she’s aloof, she’s also hot and Asian. She weaves a path through life by shamelessly taking advantage of every nerd who crushes on her. In this story, each of Tink’s guildmates tries to unravel the mystery surrounding Tink’s personal life. Tink, in turn, divulges a uniquely fantastic web of lies to each person. The jig is up once the Knights of Good trade juicy the gossip about her “real” life.

Bladezz has always been my least favorite character in the series. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the character; his smarmy, “your mom” humor is usually good for a laugh. However, in a web-series that largely bases its humor on self-deprecation, Bladezz just has few relatable qualities. This comic, more than any other, provides some necessary character depth. Bladezz’ mom introduces him and his sister, Dena, to her new boyfriend. Immediately, Bladezz and his little sister conspire to eliminate their proclaimed nemesis. The new boyfriend also happens to be a photographer. He attempts to butter up Bladezz with a part-time job as a stand-in model. Bladezz discovers his life’s calling and uses his talents to wreak havoc on his potential stepfather. I’m also fascinated by the possessive form of Bladezz’ name.

Clara is the ditzy, self-centered, hilariously neglectful mother of three children. She is hopelessly addicted to The Game. Ten months after moving into their house, her husband finally reaches his limit and takes away her blink, internet, thingy until she unpacks the bedroom boxes and cleans up. What follows is a nostalgic trip into Clara’s past as she reflects on her school years and meeting her future husband – an unlikely thug.

I have a love/hate relationship with Zaboo. In the first few seasons of The Guild, he was one of my favorite characters. The lovesick, Codex-stalker made for some genuinely hilarious scenes. However, his shtick wore thin after a few seasons. Zaboo’s story is almost exactly what I anticipated, but its execution is brilliant and takes full advantage of the comic platform. The story reads like a video game where Zaboo attempts to escape the clutches of his overbearing mom to hook up with Codex. Six mini-games let you participate in Zaboo’s creepy Codex obsession “” one even grades your stalker abilities. This comic brings back fond memories of the game books from the Reading-Is-Fundamental book giveaways in elementary school. Zaboo’s chapter was just pure fun and ties right into the opening scenes of the Guild’s first season. Awesome’d!

Felicia Day collaborated with actors Jeff Lewis to write Vork and Sandeep Parikh to write Zaboo. She also worked with Guild producer Kim Evey to write Clara and director Sean Becker to write Bladezz. Each story is uniquely flavored, but still holds true to the lighthearted spirit of the web series. With the short episodes of The Guild ranging from 5-10 minutes, these stories each story add a little layer of depth to the characters. No surprises exist in this volume “” except maybe that Mr. Wiggly was a wannabe Eminem in his teenage years. A shocking twist is not necessary, however, when the character-driven journeys are solid and stay true to the series. Guild fans simply want to spend more time with the Knights of Good; Felicia Day and the other writers deliver in each script.

The artists for each comic were well chosen. The art styles in this book are as varied as the stories, but each style complements the characters’ personalities and the tone of the stories. For instance, Vork’s art is detailed and drab colored whereas Clara’s book is fluffy, bright, and cartoony. In a great touch, the Tink comic varied the art styles dramatically to match the themes of her lies. The characters look like their real-life counterparts “” sometimes remarkably so such as in Vork’s comic. Also, worth noting is Bladezz’ outstanding, retro, secret origin, splash-page at the beginning of his comic. Overall, there isn’t a weak link in the entire volume.

Yep, I just geeked for every comic and character in The Guild #2. I have made no secret that I’m a mark for The Guild and that I am completely predisposed to loving every panel of this comic. So, here’s a shocker: I LOVED EVERY PANEL OF THIS COMIC! Well, okay, not every panel. The Codex miniseries (The Guild #1) and the Fawkes one-shot comic are actually better reads, but I still had a blast reading this collection.

If you’re a fan like me, and you somehow missed these comics during their individual releases, then this is must-see material. The comic does not require in-depth knowledge of The Guild “” even casual fans will find lots to love here. I’m really digging these extended universe comics and hope to see much more.

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