Review: The Order of the Forge #1

The team of Victor Gischler and Tazio Bettin have become one of my favorites over the last year. Their work on Sally of the Wasteland was fantastic and it showed two creators that knew what they wanted to do with a story and pulled it off to a “T”. When I saw then reteaming on Dark Horse’s The Order of the Forge I didn’t even care what the story was about, just that I would be reading it. By the way… it’s about George Washington… his axe… and some kind of supernatural business.

I mean I could really leave it there because that is 1000% what the issue and series is about and that really should be enough info for you to want to check it out. I mean just look at the cover!

The-Order-of-The-Forge-#1Okay I’ll tell you a little about the issue, but I’m skipping the cold open. We find George trying to write a letter to his father. His friend and co-worker Paul Revere informs him that they’re expected as a guest is arriving. This exchange happens after some humorous exposition that explains the two men’s situation. At the front of the house Mr. Hammond (they’re employer) meets his niece who is orphaned and now his ward. Mr. Hammond quickly dismisses her and sends George and Paul to take care of her things. As they carry her truck she gives false sympathy about them having to carry her truck, but justifies it by saying she’s sure they don’t mind. This is when we learn that George has a bit of a truth problem, as in he always tells the truth… like he can’t stop it… did you see Liar, Liar? It’s like that, but not terrible and clichéd.

There’s obviously a lot more to the story. As I mentioned there’s an opening sequence that’s a bit of an origin for George and his infamous cherry tree makes an appearance. We also meet George and Paul’s friend… Ben Franklin! I know this all seems ridiculous, but it really is a great meshing of history and fantasy.

What I found particularly great was the modern dialogue. Gischler makes no attempt at recreated Revolution War Era dialogue. In fact our first encounter with Paul the term “Dickhead”, “Shit Wages” and “Slacking Ass” are used. It works. It works in the sense that Northlanders worked for Vikings. If you’re coming for historical and era accuracy then I would again point you to the cover of George Washington holding an axe and parting heads for shoulders like a bad batch of Selsun Blue.

An easy target is the characters and the world. The world feels hollow at the moment and the characters are pretty one-dimensional, but that’s okay. In fact it’s not bad or anything that should knock the story down. The entire point of this world is entertainment and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I had a huge smile on my face the entire time I read this story. It’s ridiculous entertainment, but it does it so well that it’s actually quite good. Much like with Sally of the Wasteland, Gischler knows exactly what he wants from this story and frankly it takes a great deal of skill to produce a story that doesn’t take it’s self so seriously and yet tells a story that clearly has layers of content going on.

It helps greatly that Bettin is on art. My only regret for the art is that there’s not more beautiful women for Bettin to illustrate because he did a fantastic job on Sally of the Wasteland. Bettin really does kill it on the art as he fits with Gischler’s tone of writing. The dialogue may not be era approps, but the clothing and design is. That’s what makes the contrast work. If the art matched the dialogue more than the era then you’d wonder why this story even needed to be told. Bettin is no slouch when it comes to action so prepare to see the equivalent of a summer blockbuster that happens during the Revolutionary War. Doesn’t that just sound awesome? It does to me!

I wasn’t exactly surprised by this series. I knew what I was getting, but I would love to see the look on other people’s faces when they crack this open and hear Paul Revere complain about his Dickhead boss. Some people may not like this story and that’s their loss since this story is clearly just trying to entertain. It’s not trying to bring about some deep patriotism from within or the other extreme of “Murica Fuck Yeah”, but maybe it’s just looking for a “George Washington Fuck Yeah!” And that’s something I can get on board with.

Score: 4/5

The Order of the Forge #1 Writer: Victor Gischler Artist: Tazio Bettin Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/29/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital