A 16 bit inspired comic? Why haven’t I seen more of these? Fantasy, retro, unusual and slacker are all words that spring to mind when reading this comic. This first issue is concerned solely with introducing the characters and the quest which are achieved both smartly and with humour. Take Sam for instance his marital problems spur him on the quest but they also make him the butt of many jokes and differentiate him from the others as what his wife said to him is always on his mind. The impossibility of the quest is narrated to us by the fourth member of the group as he tries to convince them of his worth which stops this from being an info dump and also establishes him as an important member of the group. The dialogue is modern with a fair amount of swearing and gaming terms which will broaden its appeal as you don’t need to be a hardcode gamer to appreciate it. There’s a lot of foreshadowing and unanswered questions throughout the story like who is the Rogue and what secrets does Jonah have. These are intriguing enough to make you want to read on but there’s enough information to start guessing the answers. It’s important to note that despite being a 16 bit fantasy comic the motivation for the mission is realistic- the men haven’t achieved much despite being top of their class ten years ago. They are trying to regain their youth which is something everyone can relate to and from how they act you can tell it won’t be easy.
The art is the most important part of this comic as the setting is what sets this apart. Thankfully the characters are all shaped block like, their expressions are simple enough yet no characters looks the same even discounting the clothes it’s their faces, their eyebrows, everything. The backgrounds are a joy they look straight out of a retro game particular the ground. However, I do have one slight grievance- the lack of sound effects. There is a large array of 16 bit noises that could be used to enhance this story but I think there is only two sound effects used in the whole story.
Overall, this is an intriguing concept, the characters and rules are all explained, there are plenty of unanswered questions and the art work is amazingly retro. David Jenkins
Find out more about Fabled Four here