Folklords #1 Review

by Jay Hill on November 13, 2019

Written by: Matt Kindt
Art by: Matt Smith
Colors by: Chris O'Halloran
Lettered by: Jim Campbell
Published by: BOOM! Studios

Adventure is calling and Ansel is ready to answer. But the quest he seeks appears to be forbidden by the mysterious Librarians that preside over his land. He is already unique in his world, but the goal of finding the Folklords of legend may be the most dangerous idea his misaligned mind has come up with yet.

The world of Folklords is reminiscent of many other fantasy works of fiction. It features an old-timey, but otherworldly village filled with cobblers, ironsmiths, gnomes, and trolls. Our hero is Ansel, a boy who, in a world with the aforementioned citizens, dresses in a modern-day suit and tie. He’s like that guy who shows up to play Dungeons & Dragons and has to be told repeatedly by the Dungeon Master, “No, you can’t wear a suit and a wristwatch. We’re in medieval times.” Who then replies, “But, Dragons didn’t exist in medieval times, so why can’t a watch?” And then everyone agrees to meet behind his back after that. And in this story, the “DM” appears to be the league of Librarians that are somehow in control of the world and the rite of passage quests every youth must go on. Ansel’s desire to uncover the Folklords is prohibited by these secretive leaders and just the mention of the Folklords is met with shock and outrage. But this uphill battle just gives our hero more determination. 

The lore of Folklord’s world is effortlessly explained. It slightly hinges on the reader's understanding of the genre staples, but the inner workings of the world are explained without getting bogged down in worldbuilding. The twist of Ansel’s visions of a more modern world is done without too much focus on it and without trying to hide the reveal. It brings up questions while answering some, a good mix to start a story. Folklords being a miniseries gives me hope that the bigger picture won’t keep being baited without a payoff. The characters of the world, most of them Ansel’s friends, are already fun and interesting. I was impressed that Matt Kindt was able to introduce a few characters I was genuinely interested in seeing more of while also having to establish the world, the plot, and the future.

I wasn’t familiar with Matt Smith’s art before reading this issue, but I can see him becoming one of my favorite artists. He has a style that I find personally appealing. A bubbly cartoony style that has a slight alternative comics feel reminiscent of Scott Pilgrim and modern cartoon shows. But also an attention to detail that pops. His faces are a highlight, they can go from rounded cuteness to expressive definition. The scene of the adolescents explaining their quests features a grouping of close-up shots that puts this on display. And I hope there are some action scenes soon because I’d love to see his ability in that area. He also uses bold shadows which, when added with his lines, makes me want to see the comic in black-and-white. Unfortunately, that would take away the work done by colorist Chris O'Halloran who keeps a palette appropriate for the fantasy/medieval setting, but also some surprising hues when the effect is necessary.

The quest has started, and the path is set, where it will end is a mystery. Especially given the hints of the picture behind the scenes. We’re introduced to some likable characters that are as interesting as the world built around them, and the mystery at the center of it. All that is left to do is to tag along and see what is revealed during the journey.

Our Score:


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