Punycorn | Review
Writer/artist: Andi Watson
Publisher’s rating: Ages 8-12
How unlikely a hero is Punycorn, the star of the new Andi Watson comic by the same name?
Well, he’s got the word “puny” right there in his name, doesn’t he? Indeed, though he lives in Uni Palace with The Chosen Ones, a team of mighty unicorn heroes who have driven all evil to the outskirts of their magical land of Carbuncle, he’s hardly one of the team. Tiny and round, he’s relegated to dusting the awards The Chosen Ones have garnered over the years, and, when given the occasional chance to prove himself on the obstacle course, he fails miserably, his personal best time being three hours and twenty-nine minutes.
But when The Chosen Ones all pack up for a trip to the Jeopardous Swarth to practice their “world-renowned heroic abilities,” Punycorn is left alone to defend the castle…and tackle a list of chores.
Unfortunately, it’s at just this moment that, in the Bastion of Evil, Sir Ogre is given a mighty, homemade gift by his mother: A pair of knitted mittens, er, gauntlets of power, that will allow him to summon a huge army of evil…and also command lightning bolts. They may look silly, but they’re apparently effective.
With no way of reaching the other unicorns, Punycorn sets off to consult the Council of Wizards, who give him some vague advice that sounds like a checklist from various stereotypical fantasy novels: Find a Stalwart Companion, form a Kinship, use a magical item, enlist an elemental.
Thus begins Punycorn’s quest, during which he will meet and enlist the aid of Wheeze, a dragon who can’t breathe fire; Bloodgutter, a legendary talking sword (which is, somewhat unfortunately, a pacifist); and P’oo, who may look like an average dung beetle, what with the ball of muck and all, but is actually a dung elemental. Along the way, they will face hordes of evil warriors and Sir Ogre himself, though they get a little unexpected help from Sir Ogre’s sister, who is feeling more than a little underappreciated as her brother’s megalomania takes hold.
Watson, a long-time fixture of the indie comics scene whose work for children has included the Glister and Gum Girl series and Kerry and The Knight of the Forest, presents an extremely silly adventure comic, perhaps his silliest work to date.
Here he seems to be working in a much looser style than usual, his designs for the heroes being especially striking departures from his normal work—though I’ve read everything he’s ever drawn, I wouldn’t have guessed that Punycorn was one of his characters, for example. The drawings of the ogres and the highly detailed backgrounds reveal the more familiar Watson, however, perhaps because they and the occasional villagers seen are humanoid or human, while Puycorn and Wheeze are, well, not.
Punycorn should find a receptive audience in young readers, a fact that the publisher seems to be betting on, as there are a few loose ends at the close of the book, as well as an announcement of “the next adventure”: Punycorn and the Princess of Thieves.
Filed under: Reviews
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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