There never seems to be enough comedy comics out there, but Vault is aiming to rectify that this week with Quests Aside. Not only that, it’s got a fantasy setting with plenty of colorful characters. Some of them are very tall, too! Crafted by writer Brian Schirmer and artist Elena Gogou, the first issue introduces a large cast of characters, sets up a good premise to draw you in, and will certainly make you laugh.
The issue opens with three travelers on their way into a bar named Quests Aside. They’re being serenaded by a rather over-the-top man who plays a mean stringed instrument. Soon they’re rushing around inside the bar amazed by everything. This helps set up the status of the bar and establish its notoriety. These travelers end up serving as a great reminder that not only is it dangerous out there but even the best bravado can be met with terrible results.
Much of the rest of the issue establishes the main characters and the bar owner named Barrow. It’s an eclectic group, some higher strung than others. Most important is they’re familiar with each other and trusting of each other too. It might be dangerous out there, but if you have some friends you can trust it doesn’t seem so bad.
Quests Aside also has a made-for-TV vibe, with smash cuts and other ways it plays with pace and expectations. You can practically hear the music in a battle between instruments, or a fun action montage that’s posterized. The visuals blend well with the characters and dialogue to make it practically come to life. There’s also a hilariously bad stand-up comedian. You’ll want to learn more about these characters. I wouldn’t say you’ll be laughing out loud, but there are a few chuckle-worthy jokes in the story.
Art by Gogou with colors by Rebecca Nalty is good, with nice details in environments as needed. There’s a trippy shot of an upside-down room that’s quite cool and the animal characters blend well with human characters. There’s a cartoony look and feel that plays well with the loud expressions. There’s a great flair for the dramatic, like a light bulb popping up over a head that’s quite fun.
Letters by Andworld Design are great, with some nice touches like swears being depicted via medieval symbols. When characters sing the word balloon twists and turns like a scroll unfolding above the characters. The tails of balloons at times are well done flying down into a gutter or way off to the side. It helps break up dialogue in scenes where we can see only one o two characters talking.
For $4.99, this issue costs a bit more than the usual comic, but it’s also longer at 27 pages of content. Mostly this is a character drama with characters talking, but with the nice cut-aways, a mix of character types, and a mystery worth investigating it’s worth a look. Quests Aside hits a pleasurable groove of comedy and fantasy with a great cast of colorful characters.
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