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Farlaine the Goblin #2: Review

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After a strong debut, the anonymous creator of Farlaine the Goblin follows up with an even stronger sophomore issue — a rare feat for a non-established book. Issue #2 offers another promising sign that this book will be able to deliver on its unique premise.

Here’s the official word from the creator:

Farlaine the Goblin, a tree goblin shaman from the Forest of Fin-Din, has spent years wandering the very many Oddlands of Wug in search of a forest to call his own. He only has 10 lands left.

The premise this anonymous creator has established is engaging and creative: a tree goblin who wields powers similar to Swamp Thing, navigates kingdoms reminiscent of Willingham’s Fables, and encounters villains (and allies) you’d only expect to find a few paces off the yellow brick road. The first issue did an excellent job of establishing this world, and because of that I had high expectations for issue #2. But I was also wary. As most comic book readers know, sophomore books are tricky. This is frequently the point where a clever premise needs to actually deliver a satisfying story and luckily Farlaine the Goblin #2 accomplishes this, and more.

In issue #2  Farlaine arrives at the Salt Lands, an exotic world that’s aptly named — the landscape, and even the inhabitants are all made up of the briny mineral. With their stilted speech and penchant for accidental destruction, these salt creatures offer an enjoyable Bizzaro quality to the book. And after a premier issue where Farlaine did a lot of solo reflection, these creatures  also offer Farlaine a more textured opportunity to develop as a character; watching Farlaine banter with these natives makes for some of the most enjoyable moments in this issue. The creatures eventually take Farlaine to their village, which has been built under the shadow of a giant cube of salt known as the Great Pug. The Pug is both God and shelter — and for the purposes of issue #2, the major set piece that propels this issue forward.

The art in issue #2 takes another step forward — it’s clear the creator is more at home with Farlaine now; the strokes are smoother and the goblin’s posture is more natural. Of special note is the greater attention given to visual puns and physical humor. Farline’s expressions and movements have been more purposefully embedded in this issue. In short, there’s visual storytelling galore.

 Farlaine the Goblin has been one of my most delightful discoveries this year. It’s fun, engaging, and disarming…in just the right way. Go grab this thing today.

5/5

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