Summary: Bruno and Ollie are best friends (and also dogs) that are sitting in the back of a car, patiently awaiting the return of their owners when their world comes undone. A volcanic eruption sends their reality into turmoil as ash and black clouds fill the sky, the earth itself splits open, and noxious gasses poison the very air they breath. Fear drives them as they flee for safety, but soon their attention turns to finding their way back to their home. Along they way there are characters that both aid and hunt them, all while they try to make sense of a confusing and terrifying world.
Story: The story of Thunderpaw: In the Ashes of Fire Mountain is dark and psychological. The author does an excellent job of putting you into the dogs’ metaphorical shoes and making you feel for them as characters. The pacing is occasionally a bit slow, with multiple pages sometimes being only silent visuals that don’t add much, but it’s not much of a detraction from the overall fantastic feel of this webcomic when the art is so nice to look at. The elements of reality blended with the characters’ perception of what is happening is well thought out, and adds a gravity to what would otherwise be a simple tale.
Art: Thunderpaw’s art is amazing. The style is unique and the usage of colors is masterful. The scenes range from mundane to psychedelic. Character designs and illustrations of the natural cataclysm happening all around are creative and thoughtful. The website is a part of the art itself, changing directions and backgrounds the match or augment what is happening in the strip. Typically, I’m not a fan of animation in comics, as it usually begins to feel lazy, redundant, or even cliche at times. With Thunderpaw, however, the animation works perfectly with the art, immersing you even more deeply into the world.
Conclusion: Thunderpaw: In the Ashes of Fire Mountain is a must read if you’re looking for something more serious. I often talk about webcomics being “light.” That does not apply here. The story is tragic. The characters have depth. There is real conflict and fear instilled in every page. If you want to read a comic, as opposed to checking out a funny strip once a week or so, then you definitely want to check out Thunderpaw.