I mentioned last week that Rune had been featured on The Duck (formerly known as Drunk Duck). In this week’s QuackCast, skoolmunkee gave a detailed review. She gave me permission to post a transcript here:

This is one of those comics which was on my radar for a really long time, but for whatever reason I never checked it out too closely. Which is kind of a shame because when I did, I liked it! Obviously, because I featured it.

This is a sword-and-sorcery type of fantasy comic with royal intrigue, a troubled kingdom, a dark time from the past, an evil wizard and a handsome prince. There’s no dragons and such yet though but I think a witch shows up later. This is largely a human, sort of character-based drama. Rune, the main character, is a crown prince who can’t yet take the throne. Instead, he and his good friend and dedicated follower have left Rune’s country to train in relative safety nearby. He’s due back in the kingdom soon (if he’s past a certain date, he can’t become the king, for some reason) but there’s someone or someones out to try and make sure he doesn’t arrive.

Rune’s not even sure he wants to be king. It’s not an easy career, and anyone wise enough to be a good king is also wise enough to know they probably don’t want the job. When he does arrive at the castle, he’s just in time not only to claim his birthright but to face an attack by the banished magician Avery- who now wants to be called the Wizard Arklomene- a man who Rune and his father the late king blamed for the queen’s death. Avery’s got a chip on his shoulder about that whole thing, and having rediscovered wizardry (which is a type of evil magic that was purged from the world long ago) has decided to be the bad guy and cause some trouble and put a curse on Rune and so forth. He’s got a staff that glows evil green light and everything. He curses Rune, but more importantly, the return of wizardry is an old legend-thing that means that the end of the world is gonna happen soon. Well, Rune doesn’t like that so as soon as he finishes swearing in as King Rune, he and his friend take off to find and kill that dude.

The first chapter is the weakest really- there’s a bit of not-too-onerous exposition about the backstory and political situation, but the ‘getting home safely’ drama fizzled a little, I never got a sense he was in much hurry or any real danger. Yet he still only managed to arrive in the nick of time. It might have been a little cliche, but it would have been more exciting if he’d gotten in trouble and had to try and escape in time! But then again, he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to be king in the first place, so maybe he wouldn’t have tried so hard if there were many obstacles… That bit of the story is pretty insignificant to the plot, really, but it is the first main piece of the story so I think it needs to hook people.

By the time they hit the castle in the second chapter, the story is rolling along and we get introduced to the political finaglers and of course the big bad guy. Chapter three has them off on their adventure and also introduces the main female character, Zara, who’s sort-of the love interest. You’ve also got bandits, battle action, return of the curse, more evil Avery, and so on. So it starts to get pretty involved!

Artwise, this is a CG comic. chrixena has done something a little different with it- she uses bright colors and a type of cel-shading to make the characters appear slightly cartoony, which I like. I don’t think I’ve seen any comics that do quite the same thing. (It’s weird to have CG characters look too realistic or plastic). So I think her comic looks pretty good. I do like the general visual and shading style of the comic. There’s also a slight texture to most things, to help it look more organic. However the figures can look a little stiff, and the facial expressions aren’t always great. That will probably be a problem that will plague cg comics for a long time.

There’s some nice lighting effects sometimes, and some of the backgrounds are pretty carefully done. Not keen on the flat color or gradient ones that show up here or there, though it’s understandable the rendered ones take more effort. chrixena does do lots of different angles, dramatic closeups, and so forth- and pays lots of attention to framing the panels and scenes. I also liked some of the outfits. Rune himself has a bit of a baby face for a tough prince, but I can appreciate any costume choice which leaves guys’ buff arms bare!

So! Although I think it looks really good I think the story is really the strong point of this comic. And I hope you check it out and enjoy it!