Twig #1 nails its open-world gaming vibe

Fantasy comics are swinging for the fences. They typically introduce fully constructed worlds, complex magical systems, and fictional creatures with unique traits. For this reason, the fantasy genre can often put off readers who cannot navigate the Byzantine maze of stories that throw all the rules of reality we know out of the window.

Yet the fantasy overflows with jaw-dropping innovation and creativity. It’s for these same reasons that some readers are drawn to the genre where realism and imagination intersect in accessible ways. Written by Skottie Young, illustrated by Kyle Strahm, colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and written by Nate Piekos, Image Comics’ Twig #1 communicates its fantastical story through its open-world video game visual quality.

Twig #1 opens with what looks like an in-game intro cutscene. We meet the fuzzy blue anthropomorphic protagonist Twig on the morning slumber of his first day as Placeling’s newest adventurer. Similar to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, Twig yelps about being late. First, he brazenly berates his snail-like companion Glup for not waking him up on time, then hastily discusses his lateness with various other denizens of his world as he traverses the wooded landscapes. fantastic to check his work.

Immediately, Twig #1 activates. The environments and characters Twig interacts with offer a stunning level of innovative detail. Readers get the feel of an open-world game structure through the small details, such as wayward comments from passers-by adjoining “NPCs” to Twig and the vast expanse of the world they traverse in the opening pages. Additionally, the comic’s opening scenes follow a repeating three-panel horizontal grid structure. These sequences of lush landscapes teeming with color and intricate design work show off the kind of free-roaming gaming abilities that seem plausible in Twig’s universe.

When Twig finally arrives at work, the road narrows into a cliff overhang. The scene evokes impressions of Zelda games, such as Breath of the Wild or Skyward Sword, where players reach the edge and therefore have to find a fast or fast way to continue their journey. In a comic, you obviously don’t need to press a button to interact with another character. But the cut to a glorious splash page where the gigantic humanoid mountain of Mount Guphin howls at Twig’s lateness is a reminder that he was told to “Press X to talk.”

After a gentle rebuke tinged with sage advice on how wasting time is unacceptable when the world and worlds beyond depend on Twig, Mount Guphin unrolls his tongue to bridge the gap between the cliff and himself. Yes, Twig’s journey begins when he literally walks inside a talking mountain. Once again, adventure awaits both Twig and the reader as he navigates the darkness inside Mount Guph.

As Twig’s ultimate goal comes into focus, readers cherish the elements that facilitate an exploration of the open world. Twig must converse with the knowledgeable side characters to collect items and extract useful tidbits of information that hint at the next steps in her journey. Our four-legged friend loves to cook and prepares food for him and Glup. Twig and Glup make the perfect pair as they discuss every step of their expedition and enjoy a quick meal, reminding me of the Hunters and their Felyne Palicos in the Monster Hunter video games. It doesn’t get much more endearing than cute animal characters that make food like a human.

Each panel is an invitation to readers to spend time reveling in each stunningly designed environment. Soothing colors permeate the comic. Everything is washed in soft pastel shades, devoid of harsh lines. As such, Twig’s world doesn’t feel constrained by borders or limits, opening up the idea that creators could trot Twig through this fantasy land until their imaginations stop creating this land of living wonders.

Social media posters often ask questions like “If you had to live in the last video game you played, what would it be?” If Twig were a video game, I’d spend an eternity inside its vast topography.

This comic moves Twig through each scene with dexterity. Its balanced emphasis on movement, character development, and slow-burning narrative makes readers feel almost influencing control over Twig’s story, analogous to a video game protagonist. As a fantasy miniseries, the door of possibilities swings wide open in an engaging story for readers of any age or gender interest.

Twig is an adorable character wielding a small backpack who needs to store items to continue his adventurous journey. Perhaps we’ll see him increase his abilities or gain armor to wear during his quest feats in other issues? The potential seems endless in the charming fantasy dimension adjacent to Twig #1’s video game.

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Raymond I. Langston