cover image Real Hero Shit

Real Hero Shit

Kendra Wells. Iron Circus, $12 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-945820-83-0

Wells (Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas), known for her artwork in role-playing game web series like Critical Role and Dimension 20, rolls out an ambitious if underdeveloped adult queer fantasy romp. Seeking respect and new friends, Prince Eugene, heir to the Kingdom of Marble, decides to join a team of adventurers and immediately gets on the bad side of the party’s wizard, Ani. Still, his presence comes in handy when the squad stumbles across a conspiracy implicating a high-ranking church official. Wells’s world is lived-in, her character designs are lively and diverse, and it’s hard to miss the prominent LGBTQ inclusion efforts; the party’s cleric, Hocus, comes from a culture with at least five genders, which Wells illustrates with a helpful Venn diagram (and Eugene eagerly internalizes, the better to flirt with them). But just as it seems the Ani-Eugene feud is about to boil over into fantasy class commentary, Wells takes the easy way out with a sex scene, which is fun and frothy but sidesteps character growth. This feels like a warm-up act for a second volume. (Feb.)