You probably don’t know how much you need The Guild: Knights of Good. Sure, if you’re a huge fan of The Guild – or just of Felicia Day – you probably picked up the character one-shots that are collected here. You probably also already have the first Guild trade paperback, the one that collected the original miniseries about Codex, and have been anxiously awaiting the release date for this one as well. But, you need this not just for the sake of fandom – you need it because it will shift and change the characters for you.
I love The Guild because it makes being a nerd awesome, gives some street cred to the dorkier side of life (again, Felicia Day’s involvement – not detrimental to this cause). The reason it works so well is because it’s honest – the characters feel real, the subculture one that all self-proclaimed nerds are familiar with. This trade adds to this feeling, providing a bit of back story for the rest of the Guildies – Vork, Tinkerballa, Bladezz, Clara and Zaboo – and setting up their involvement in The Game prior to The Guild Season 1. By and large, the actors share writing credit (with Felicia Day) on their character’s section – ensuring some of that light and personality carries over into the comic. Each one-shot collected here feels like a perfect extension of the characters you’ve watched develop across five seasons.
Which leads to my one complaint with The Guild: Knights of Good and, yes, I admit – it’s a petty one.
My issue with this is that there’s obviously no space between one-shots – and, if you’re like me, you tend to get sucked in by good writing and bright artwork and end up reading trades all in one sitting. Normally great, but this feels a little bit too real in places. Growing up nerdy, you feel like you already know these characters, already know people like Vork and Zaboo and Tink, people who turn to the geekier points in life to escape from reality into fantasy. It’s just a little too easy to start seeing real people instead of characters, making it a little too hard to laugh at the awkwardness – which is a testament to both the writing itself and the overall feel of these books. On one hand, I love how real these characters feel – on the other hand, I want them a bit less real so I can continue to laugh at Vork’s grocery store grazing or Tinkerballa’s never-ending lies.
Traumatic, Tink-flavored flashbacks aside, I loved this book for how clever it is. I loved the differentiation between gameplay and reality (or, in some cases, between reality and very clever lies) – the shifts in art style really highlighted the gaps between how these characters behave online and in the real world (particularly impressive is Tink’s story, as each lie gets its own style).
Despite the potential discomfort from hitting a bit too close to home, The Guild: The Knights of Good is a great addition to The Guild world. You might not have known that you wanted this much history on these characters, but once you’ve got it, it’s hard to imagine them any other way.