(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized light amongst the darkness.)
Rich Burlew’s time has been somewhat monopolized by fulfillment from the Kickstarter, so the comic itself has actually slowed down considerably since the Kickstarter wrapped up back in February.
That’s not to say that things haven’t happened in that time. In fact, we got a whole fight scene between the OOTS and the new Linear Guild, with Tarquin trying and failing to pretend to be Thog. We even got at least one funny moment when Roy caught on to the ruse and removed “Thog”‘s helmet – only to reveal a mask with “Nope!” written on it. But there hasn’t been anything that I’ve actually felt the need to post on.
So why am I posting about it now? Only to note the change of pace we’re seeing with the focus on the Linear Guild, with the trap the Order has laid for them revealed from their eyes. I don’t think there has ever been a point when we’ve been at this level of remove from the OOTS, with another group of characters (let alone the group they’re fighting) becoming the viewpoint characters and the OOTS becoming the “other”. Rich has always had very well fleshed out villains, but the Guild is basically serving as shadow protagonists at the moment.
Part of this reflects the interesting interpersonal dynamic amongst the marriage of convenience that makes up this version of the Linear Guild, especially the surprising conflict between Tarquin and Malack, which has overshadowed any question of the chain of command. The two of them have been together since their adventuring days before Nale was even born, but Malack was never particularly willing to team up with the murderer of his kids for any reason, and he’s started to clash with Tarquin over his disregard for efficiency in favor of drama, stretching out the first round with the OOTS and disregarding the loss of some of the reanimated former minions of Girard to the same trap Vaarsuvius fell into. Malack has always seemed more noble than Tarquin or the rest of the Guild, but now I seriously have to wonder if he’ll eventually turn on the group.
A bigger part of the perspective flip, of course, is to allow the OOTS to look halfway competent for once…