I’ve been following Sara Riess-Goetter’s autobio work for years but I knew she and her wife Natalie had also been working on this all-ages fantasy graphic novel for a long time. I finally picked it up recently and loved it so much that I’ve pre-ordered their next book so I won’t miss it. I could scold my past self for not reading this earlier, because it was so up my alley, but I’ll cut myself some slack. This is a really great book and I’m just happy I have it now!
Dungeon Critters follows an adventuring party as they try to solve a mysterious conspiracy around an evil plant. Goetter’s cartooning is so fun and expressive, and Riess adds so much with coloring and backgrounds. And then the story itself (by both of them) is full of twists, turns, betrayal, and wonderful characters. There’s a real density to the story that rewards careful reading and I’m looking forward to re-reading this and seeing clues that I missed. I really enjoyed the balance of the group’s different personalities and how they complemented and played off each other. My favorite character was probably Goro, the snake warrior, but they were all charming and I was rooting for all of them to succeed. The gay and lesbian relationships here are also really well done and warmed my heart. Everything felt realistic, which I think is a real accomplishment considering that they’re fantasy anthropomorphic animals, and when the main romance paid off I was thrilled! Overall this is a real treat and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy. A true delight!
Warnings for: fantasy violence, angst