Dominic Deegan and the Epic Agenda

Dominic Deegan was once one of my favorite webcomics. I loved the little references to Dungeons and Dragons. I loved the rich fantasy environment, set against the humble and dour protaganist. The idea of a seer who saw his gift as a curse is nothing new, but one who saw it as such because he was constantly pestered by people looking for answers was a brilliant take on it.

Dominic Deegan was clever and silly and cute, and I loved it. And then the epic hit.

It was more than just one storyline – stories begin piling up, each one raising the stakes and getting more involved than the last. Eventually the fate of the world was at hand, and I? I found myself preferring the good old days.

I can hardly call down Mookie for raising the storyline to such an immense level. I recall my own days as a Game Master, and how easy it is to accept the insatiable urge to create a story of epic proportions. It feels culminating to do so – a chance to see the characters forged in blood and sacrifice, and triumph over evil and destruction!

And Dominic Deegan had its epic storyline, and the title character saved the world from danger.

And things died down, and we had some calm. We dealt with the aftermath of the event, and overall, things were nice again for a while.

But recently things are changing. We seem to be building back up towards chaos and commotion.

The most recent storyline was an intense one. It had it moments of humor – the comic always does – but it dealt with serious issue. Rape was the big one, and there was a lot of discussion about it.

But my concerns, by and large, were seperate from those of most others. The rape itself – and the motives behind it and its placement in the story – weren’t what bugged me. What I was concerned at was the fact that people in the comic suddenly seemed to be acting out of character.

The basic story going on here (Spoilers ahead):

Melsheena, an orc prone to temper and emotion, is confronted by someone she has not seen in ages – Stonewater, an orc who, many years ago, raped her when they both were youths.

He is accompanied by two friends – Grench, an orc female, and Bulgak, an orc infernomancer (demon-serving warlock).

We see her approach him, remembering the rape – and, surprisingly, forgive him for what happened. The event seemed, in ways, to be over – for closure to have been found for them (even if the backstory remained unexplained to us.)

Moments later, when discussing a completely seperate issue (Bulgak and his being a filthy demon worshipper), she suddenly drags the rape back up and throws it out in the open. Tempers flare, people get assaulted for sometimes almost no reason, and we have the entire story dragged out in front of us.

And it pissed me off. Because it had seemed like these characters started acting irrationally simply so that there was an excuse to have a flashback, and to give us the backstory of these characters. It seemed, in short, like bad storytelling – that the author wasn’t able to figure out how to naturally introduce the story, so forced it out in front. And no one else seemed to notice it – all the discussion going on was focused on the story itself and the message it might be giving, not on the actual development of the plot. And that was what frustrated me about the entire storyline.

Only… I was wrong. The characters were acting crazy, and confrontational, and violent… because they were being manipulated by demons. (Who woulda thought?) And it makes sense, and it works because the characters seemed so out of line and irrational.

And it is part of the lead-up to this next big story arc – the War in Hell. And obviously it is getting epic again – demon lords duking it out, the reappearance of several old favorite villains, from the remorseless killers to the ones who were just trying to make things right.

And as for me? I find myself desperately eager to see it. God help me, I want this epic story. I want to see what happens with these villains and fallen heroes. And part of it is that Mookie seems to have a special gift for making some villains that you can’t help cheering for (though that’s a seperate essay that I’ll break out on down the road.)

But a lot of it is just that the current nature of the series has really caught up to me – the characters are powerful now, and you can’t really go back to the ordinary after going through that sort of change.

So we have the War in Hell coming up, and all I can find myself doing is looking forward to it. I want to know more about the old characters who will be involved. I want to know more about some of the new characters, like Bulgak the Infernomancer.

I guess what I’m saying is that… well, Mr. Mookie, sir… I really like what you’re doing right now, and just wanted to let you know, I’m eager to see what’s coming.

I’ve come back to the fold.

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2 responses

  1. I’ve been a big fan of Dominic Deegan since I first came across it, myself. The adult themes that crop up from time to time are kind of disconcerting in a comic that started out with a few seer-puns and doctor jokes, but the epic that comes up and the characters keep me on it as much as the puns do.

    I understand how you might’ve felt how you did about the good old days, but there are only so many possibilities out there for allowing the characters to grow without throwing them into epics and having the world grow too. Or something. In any case, I’ll stick with it as long as the character development and puns are plentiful.

  2. Yeah – I think I finally realized that I should stop worrying about the jokey strip it started out as, and enjoy the comic it is now.

    I think there may have been room for a few more in-between storylines before getting right into the ‘end of the world’ stuff, but hey? Who knows where it will go from here.

    It certainly seems to be doing a good job following up after such an epic crisis, which is one of the biggest challenges – once you’ve saved the world, what’s left to do?

    And as much as I often flinch at the puns, they are definitely part of its charm.

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