Reviewer: Frosty McKenzie
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones
Genre: Graphic Novel (softcover)
MSRP: $17.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now
Those who know Sergio Aragones’ work know Groo very well no matter publishing company the series landed on throughout the years. Thankfully, Dark Horse Books continues to do justice to everyone’s favorite mindless barbarian as they did with the brilliant Groo graphic novel, Hell on Earth. Well, add another amazing collection with Sergio Aragones’ Groo: The Hogs of Horder … yet another great title Groo fans should pick up right away.
The graphic novel covers all four issues that make up The Hogs of Horder storyline as the walking disaster that is Groo and his trust dog Rufferto wanders through another land in search of employment. He joins an army but, as always, ends up slaughtering even the soldiers he had come to fight alongside him so you can believe the army that hired him wants him to leave … badly. He wanders again but this time he stumbles upon the kingdom of Horder where he is about the witness an economic downfall and the ugly face of greed.
You see, in the kingdom, greedy merchants try to tell consumers what to buy rather than give them what they want and the owners give themselves big salaries while their employees work for a meager salary. On top of that, most merchants sell goods that are made cheaper in the neighboring kingdom of Khitan and sell them for double in the markets of Horder. Then there are the bankers that give loans but demand a high interest and the King talks of raising taxes.
So when Groo finds employment in Horder, he not only manages to stop production by breaking merchandise but he also destroys the factories as well. This has the factory owners turning to the banks for a loan, which they happily do until they realize that nearly every business in Horder is asking for a loan. With nobody producing – thanks in part to Groo – the employees lose their jobs.
The King of Horder sees no other alternative but to claim another neighboring kingdom to dispose of their reigning king and claim whatever good that kingdom possesses. That means money is spent on a war and Groo gets in on the action. Of course, he ends up accidentally sinking every ship he happens to board and ends up wondering who he should really fight. The kingdom of Mesopia also happens to be locked in their own little dispute between two religious factions and thus confusing the easily confused warrior to no end.
Meanwhile, Horder’s men of business are back in the game with new loans but now the people of the kingdom are complaining that workers from another kingdom are stealing the jobs from Horder citizens. They way the businessmen see it; why not hire the workers who will toil for less money. Meanwhile, the Sage arrives in time to see Horder in economic ruin. His wisdom is great enough that the King commands him to work for the King as his economic advisor.
With Groo and the Sage on a mission to obtain a loan from Khitan (where all goods seem to come from anyway), the pair discover a King who is equally driven by greed but far more composed than the King of Horder and their deal helps shape a surprising ending. While Groo just doesn’t understand what is going on half the time (what else is new, right?), he watches as the people of Horder move on with the wisdom of the Sage who imparts some of the best advice in the end.
The Hogs of Horder makes a strong political statement that covers everything from the economy, the loss of employment thanks to cheaper labor and even the declaration of a war nobody really backs. It talks of greedy bankers and of men in power whose interests aren’t the people but rather their own agenda. The graphic novel is never too preachy, though, and the jokes will not fail to make you laugh out loud a number of times.
Dark Horse Books even includes some Rufferto short stories that are worth the read and a Groo By The Numbers extra that has a number of interesting and hilarious facts about the Groo series. There’s even the covers for the original four comics.
What we have in Sergio Aragones’ Groo: The Hogs of Horder is a graphic novel that deserves to be read not only by true Groo fans but by anyone who has picked up a comic book. It’s a truly convincing, funny and intelligent graphic novel that says a lot about our world without losing its comedic touch that Groo fans have grown to love over the many years. Picking this one up is a definite Must.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
The kingdom of Horder is heading for some hard times as its hardworking citizens are losing their jobs and businesses are shutting down and now things are going to go really bad for them now that Groo has arrived. As Groo tries to find work in a jobless kingdom, the Sage discovers the ugly truth about Horder and the kingdoms surrounding it.
Sergio Aragones is known in the comics world as one of the genuine greats and this is clearly no exaggeration. He’s also one of the funniest artists around as you will see from the visual gags scattered throughout this graphic novel.
The Hogs of Horder is yet another achievement for Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier and Groo fans everywhere. The Groo series has always been hysterically funny and this story is no different and while it contains an obvious political message, the story never gets preachy or loses sight of its real goal and that is to entertain from start to finish.