ORCS!: The Curse #1 shows us that orcs can not only be heroes, but they’re also great at organizing labor. Because seriously, minions needed unions yesterday, especially when they’re working for some particularly nasty dark sorcerers who don’t give 2 figs about their well-being.

ORCS!: The Curse #1 ~ Details

"ORCS!: The Curse #1" main cover art by Christine Larsen.
Only 1 of these people is as evil as he looks. Cover A artist: Christine Larsen.

ORCS!: The Curse #1 is the latest installation in the ORCS! comic book series by Christine Larsen (Adventure Time, By Night). Larsen both writes and draws this comic book, and also drew the main cover art. Eric Powell drew the sole variant cover art. Lastly, BOOM! Studios is the publisher behind this comic book series.

"ORCS!: The Curse #1" variant cover art by Eric Powell.
More Tolkien orc-looking, but we still love them. Cover B artist: Eric Powell.

ORCS!: The Curse #1 will go on sale on June 8, 2022. You can preorder it from your local comic book shop or from the Boom! Studios webstore when it becomes available. If you’re fine with the digital version though, then you can preorder it from content providers like comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Kindle when they become available.

Warning: spoilers for ORCS!: The Curse #1 below. If you want to check out the orcish chaos for yourself, stop here, and come back once you’ve signed the orcs’ meticulously written-out employment contract.

ORCS!: The Curse #1 ~ Plot Summary

"ORCS!: The Curse #1" preview page 1.
Typical dark sorcerer. Thinks he can hire slave labor with a snap of his fingers.

ORCS!: The Curse #1 begins with a dark sorcerer wanting to take over the world and realizing that his small posse of magically mutated crow minions wasn’t going to cut it. He has a plan to fix that though. The scene then cuts to the titular orcs relaxing with a fun dance party. Unfortunately, the dark sorcerer crashes the party and demands that the orcs join his evil army. The orcs’ response: a “standard guild of mercenaries work for hire contract”, which includes wages and dental services. Livid at the orcs’ insistence on fair employment, the dark sorcerer attempts to magic them out of existence. Fortunately, the orcs’ witch/shaman knows an anti-magic trick of her own. Without magic, the dark sorcerer has to flee with his crow minions.

While the orcs continue their dance party, the dark sorcerer plans his revenge on them. His crow minions aren’t as onboard with this plan though, mostly due to how bad a boss he’s been to them. His bad boss behavior finally comes to a head though when he gathers all of his crow minions into a courtyard and then sacrifices them all to make an eldritch crow abomination out of them. Fortunately, a few of his crow minions happened to be away at the time to take care of a pair of newborn chicks, and are understandably horrified at what happened to their kin. Gathering their chicks and eggs, the surviving crow minions flee for their lives. But now, they have a stop to make.

A Beautiful New Friendship?

"ORCS!: The Curse #1" preview page 2.
At least these orcs know how to have fun while it lasts.

The orcs have their bedtime/story-time interrupted by the arrival of the surviving crow minions, who warn them about the eldritch crow abomination heading their way and beg their witch to help save their kin. She asks for some of the crow minions’ feathers and time to prepare. The crow minions are only too happy to offer the former, and the other orcs are just as happy to fight for the latter. Even when the evil sorcerer shows up riding his eternally regenerating crow abomination, and proceeds to beat the tar out of the orcs.

The orc witch finally shows up with a potion and a catapult to deliver it. The crow minions though, assuming that she was going to kill them, get into a fight with her. She convinces them that she isn’t, only for the eldritch crow abomination to smash the catapult. Fortunately, the crow minions can fly, and 2 of them agree to fly the potion above the abomination and bomb it. The potion melts the creature into an icky puddle and forces the dark sorcerer to flee again. The crow minions mourn their apparently dead family, only for the said family to rise up out of the puddle, naked but unharmed and apparently normal again. With a bond forged by fire now, the orcs invite the crow minions to live with them, and all is well again in ORCS!: The Curse #1.

ORCS!: The Curse #1 ~ The Good

"ORCS!: The Curse #1" preview page 3.
The best way to beat a dark fantasy is with silliness.

The story of ORCS!: The Curse #1 is the best part about it. I admit, I went into this comic book completely blind, unaware that the target audience was for middle school kids and younger. After reading it though, my opinion is that it’s a story that will easily entertain older teens and adults as well. Especially if they’re into the idea of minions unionizing to fight oppressive dark sorcerer bosses. That kind of plot just makes me smile and gives me the warm fuzzies. Especially when the head orc presented that dark sorcerer with that pile of contracts.

The characters of ORCS!: The Curse #1 are also not only likable but has a surprising complexity to them. Not the dark sorcerer, of course. He’s just a really bad boss with delusions of grandeur. No, I’m talking about the orcs and the crow minions. Especially the latter, and especially with Carn. She and her little brother give us a look at what happens behind the scenes for such minions, humanizing them and developing them into sympathetic characters.

It actually makes the horror of that scene where the crow minions are turned into that eldritch crow abomination even more horrific. Seeing Jax melt into goo with a horrified look on his face, with his last words being his sister’s name actually made me tear up a bit. When someone can write characters and situations that make me cry, I give that author 2 thumbs up. Seriously Christine Larsen, fantastic job with character development here.

ORCS!: The Curse #1 ~ The Bad

"ORCS!: The Curse #1" preview page 4.
The last bit of fun before the dark sorcerer ruins it.

I think my only complaint about ORCS!: The Curse #1 is that the violence doesn’t quite feel violent enough. I realize that this isn’t that kind of story and that the situation didn’t have any room for any bloody wounds, but I wouldn’t have minded if Christine Larsen showed a bit of blood here. I felt like the orcs’ fight with the eldritch crow abomination was calling for it, and it could’ve played up the horror of the thing even more. It’s only a minor issue though, so this isn’t a big deal for me. Hence the 95% score I gave it.

Source: BOOM! Studios