Review: Ogre

Ogre follows the journey of the titular monster as he escapes from prison and, along with his fellow prisoners, seeks to escape to a safe haven.  However, beneath the surface of this mini-series by Bob Salley (Salvagers, Starlight Tavern), there lies a multi-layered examination of a number of wide ranging topics.

As the journey begins, The Ogre, for he is never named, is jailed in the dungeon of one of the few remaining castles belonging to the people of the southern realms.  Along with The Ogre, several other men are imprisoned here as well.  However, not all of the prisoners are corporeal in nature as the Ogre is chained to a decaying corpse whose spirit is ever present with the Ogre as the story unfolds.  Unfortunately, the story gets off to an uneven start as it references the rash actions of a Lord Maglimare while editorializing about the folly of war and it’s devastating effects on the common man and the soldiery who are forced to fight.  Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this plot line but after opening the story in this manner that plot point is quickly dropped as The Ogre is more intent on condemning man in general while his fellow prisoners are quite vocal in their distaste for the monster in their midst.

Three bounty-hunter trolls, along with a mysteriously cloaked hulk, roll into the castle and deliver a bounty to the prison.  These trolls will be the main antagonists for the story as they clearly symbolize those parasites who seek to profit off of war; owing allegiance to no side as they seek to enrich themselves with no thought given to the lives they ruin.  This new prisoner, who is not named until shortly before she dies, brings purpose and morals to this group of dejected and defeated prisoners.  Until her departure from the story, she is the shining example for the whole group but especially The Ogre.  The disembodied spirit of the dead man chained to his arm and the female prisoner guide The Ogre along his emotional journey.  At it’s core, that is what this story is really about.  The Ogre transitions from a bitter, dejected monster to a world-wise champion of the oppressed.  With each event that unfolds along his journey, The Ogre learns to expand his perception of the world rather than filtering it based on race or sides in a war.  In doing so, he becomes a champion:  a champion for the surviving prisoners, a champion for the people of the south and a champion for a remnant of his fellow ogres.

This is a good series, though the action and writing could be difficult to follow.  There were a number of times that I had to go back and carefully retrace my steps as I was confused about what had happened and why.  Additionally, the artwork by Shawn Daley (Terraquill, Samurai Grandpa) does not seem to fit this story.  Technically, there is nothing wrong with the art and there are many instances where the action is very well-drawn and colored.  However, while the style evokes the illustration in another fantasy title, Bone, there are many times when the art is loose and chaotic, making it difficult to follow the flow of the panels and the action therein.  Additionally, the water color painting style is ethereal and oftentimes whimsical or light.  In contrast, I feel the story would have been better served with a more defined art style a la Red Sonja and a paint style that brought gravitas to this emotional journey.  Still, despite my criticisms I enjoyed the book and would read it again.  I recommend this title.

Writing – 3.75 of 5 Stars
Art – 2.75 of 5 Stars

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By Bob Salley and Shawn Daley

Source Point Press website: www.SourcePointPress.com