Take a look at the title of this series. Now say it slowly. Yes, writer Matt Kindt is riffing on classic elements of folklore with updated twists for a modern audience here. Folklords has been building to a confrontation between the protagonist Ansel and a demented, deformed and cannibalistic version of Hansel and Gretel that comes to fruition in issue #3. The duo even gives off some creepy incest vibes, which, strangely enough, has become almost as much of a fantasy trope at this point in a post-A Song of Ice and Fire world as the series’ woodsy backdrop.
Kindt is aware of the stereotypical farm boy’s hero quest, the repeated use of a woodland setting that is more sinister than its serene trees and birds would indicate, and the disfigured gentle giant. Despite their prominent usage in fantasy tales over the course of centuries, Kindt is able to make things fresh, as he acknowledges the somewhat silly nature of them while simultaneously illustrating why they’ve captivated audience for so long with his own light-hearted, fun story.
Matt Smith’s simple penciling gives Folklords a timeless element that Kindt is striving to create in addition to colorist Chris O’Halloran’s touch that leaves the pages of this issue with a clean vibe that feels nostalgic for any fantasy veteran. This straightforward art style could come off as quaint, but Smith and O’Halloran excel at setting a familiar atmosphere that welcomes readers into Kindt’s fantasy world before reinventing their preconceived notions of the genre.
Given that it’s merely a five-issue mini series, I worry that Folklords may not be able to stick a landing, despite how good these first three issues have been. This is a sprawling world with an already rich mythology large in scope. It’s worth exploring beyond just what readers have seen from Ansel and the cast of supporting characters so far. Perhaps the creative team and BOOM! Studios could turn this into a series of minis, a practice that has become commonplace in the industry. If the biggest knock on a comic is that there’s simply not enough of it, it’s a job well done.
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