(From The Order Of The Stick. Click for full-sized protected speech.)

OOTS fans are known (at least among their own kind) for how speculation-happy they are, so it’s a rare treat when Rich manages to pull a twist that catches everyone off-guard.

Simply put, no one expected Zz’dtri to come back after Vaarsuvius called him out for being a Drizzt clone. It wasn’t exactly death, but considering how easy that is to fix in this world, getting taken away by copyright lawyers may well have been a bigger guarantee he’d never come back.

This, of course, raises a horde of questions, not least of them concerning Zz’dtri’s chronology during the intervening time, how recently he’s shacked back up with Nale, and other such questions. One rather intriguing avenue it opens up was pointed out by a forum member who matched the aura on the mysterious scrying eye with Zz’dtri’s.

It also shows just how much Rich’s art has changed over the years. Compare the detailing on Zz’dtri’s robe and cape in this strip with that in his last appearance. Although there have been a few times when art changes have been sizable enough to be pointed out, they haven’t been anywhere near as jarring as we see with a character that hasn’t been seen in over 700 strips.

(Although that doesn’t quite apply to the new hairstyle, which I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to…)

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