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Alex Robinson's Lower Regions
posted November 21, 2007
Top Shelf, soft cover, small-sized, 56 pages, November 2007, $6.95
This is I'm guessing a light-hearted project between projects for Alex Robinson. Seeing as he's released two giant works set firmly in the modern world few people are likely to resent his having fun drawing monsters and magicians for a time. A barbarian woman enters into a classic role-playing game dungeon -- the kind where nobody seems to ever leave their specific room -- and goes from one end to the other in an effort to capture a very specific prize. Twists abound; mayhem reigns. There's actually an element of the Bernard Krigstein parody of Bringing Up Father
that comes into play early on in the miniature-sized book. Fantasy games are so removed from the results of their violence that they routinely break it down into abstract numbers, while much of the art that serves that audience tends to be more antiseptic than brutal, less than rigorously demanding in terms of what logically happens when, say, you hack at living creatures with an axe. When our heroine is burned a bit and the various monsters are initially maimed, it's difficult not make the yikes face. That goes away pretty quickly, though, and soon it's easy to sit back and enjoy the room-to-room progression, the rush to a final resolution. I wish there were a bit more to it, both in terms of story and imaginative design, but it's hard to muster up a lot of anger that it's so slight considering it seems to almost wear its throwaway status as a badge of honor. I would guess Robinson likely had more fun making Lower Regions
than I had reading it. I also suspect he'd be just fine with that.