By Kolbeinn Karlsson, Top Shelf Productions, $14.95, 160 pages

10If nothing else, The Troll King is definitely an interesting experience in sequential art. It loosely follows the parenting of a couple, a new intelligence, a party, and a group all in the same woods protected by the spirit of the forest. There is an interesting allegory about gay relationships that makes the book worth reading. The other stories show other aspects of this, and make for some interesting reading. The art is striking, and reinforces the stories rather well. Although the stories appear to be independent, they end up being rather dependent on each other.

The problem is that in the comics belongs the “so weird it has to be good” school of comic art. The book isn’t as satisfying as it should be because of the difference in the writing and art. There is an interesting dissonance between what is written and what is drawn, such as when the dwarf is supposedly having fun at the party even though there is some pretty horrific stuff happening. Normally it would work, but here it just comes off as off-putting. It’s an interesting experience; it just needs some focus to be really good.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim