Callous: The Land of the Guardians (carlo san juan)

Back in Summer Komikon when I was still getting my bearings, I bought the compilation of doctor slice-of-life strips for Callous. I skipped on this one, since I didn’t even know Rianne. This time I bought the story-arc compilation, having already met all major ducks, and having already read about Muscovy online and wondering what happened to him.

I may be talking jibberish. Callous (currently on break) is normally about a doctor, her work-a-day life and her conversations with a friend duck. In this case, the author went on a limb and sent the doctor to the world where her friend duck Cal originally comes from. From there she helps as a designated warrior (yes, I know, stay with me) and helps confront Muscovy, a former ally duck turned rogue. This storyline runs for several months worth of 4-panel strips.

For someone who went on a limb and just did a fantasy storyline on the fly, this is incredibly good. The author suspends all of Rianne’s, and our, disbelief, one crazy element at a time, and immerses us in the world of ducks and swans. Then he sinks us into a battle between old friends and current enemies, misunderstandings that lead to pain, and healing old wounds, all of which makes us want to root for everyone involved.

Enough correct airtime is given to each of Cal’s friends, plus the hot-chocolate-loving Gatekeeper duck, and Koko the Komodo dragon. Muscovy is also presented with a good pacing of the character development. Comedy is still mixed into this insanity, with spot-on timing. And, THE BEARS, ohemgee, the CARE BEARS. Most effective prison guards in existence. Panalo.

The art, within the limits of its style, has also improved, especially in the line details and the background coloring. This is especially shown in the bigger fight scenes of this compilation.

Overall, the author fulfilled his goal as mentioned in the intro of the book. He braved the world with Rianne, and life is good.

I’d like to a second compilation of the adventure story-arcs, please!

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