One Punch Reviews #14: Purgatory Tower
Most furry comics ask you to ignore any backstory as to why their comic is inhabited by humanoid creatures with animal heads. Hey, when it comes to Disney, you never question why a walking, talking mouse is the same size as a duck and a dog, do you? Purgatory Tower, on the other hand, provides a backstory that becomes an integral part of the plot. In a rite of passage similar to the Terrigen Mists from Marvel’s Inhumans, young humans are genetically fused to an animal species that represents their clan. The subject gains new powers, a coat of fur, and pointy ears. However, sometimes something goes wrong in the process, leading to unwelcome consequences.
The webcomic is written by a Drunk Duck user who writes as “silentkitty” (though the profile page identifies her real name as Sarah). The story starts at place known as Purgatory Tower. A crowd of prisoners have gathered here with one goal in mind: if you reach the top of the tower, you are a free man. There’s a catch, though. The journey is so perilous, and the fellow contestants so desperate, that a large number of the participants are going to die. If you ask me, that’s not a very good trade-off. Aisha, a squirrel hybrid who is the story’s main character, comes to the same conclusion. She wonders if it wasn’t easier just trying to break out of jail.
The contest starts, and the criminals are immediately at each other’s throats. Aisha has her eyes on the prize, though. She’s going to get to the top with minimal confrontation. The journey is still no walk in the park. For one, there is no tower. The minute she steps into the doors, she finds herself in a dense tropical jungle. A portal to another dimension, perhaps? And, for some reason, a lot of people are more interested in getting her. A shadowy creature stalks her in the woods, a rival gang is out to kill her, massive beasties block her path, and, for some reason, everyone wants to get their hands on the jewel hanging around her neck. She’s captured by Cai, who tells her matter-of-factly that the jewel once belonged to her murdered brother. Yet, Cai has her own secrets as well. She’s one of the unlucky few who was horribly mutated by the Unification Ceremony. Eyes have grown all over her body, including a very unsightly one on her shoulder. Yet, something else happened. Something … supernatural.
The best part about Purgatory Tower is that it moves. I credit this, in no small part, to the contest at the center of the story. There are no long internments at the local inn, no long scenes sitting at the campfire, no interminably long three-pages sequences of someone toweling off their hands. It’s all about moving forward and getting to the top of the tower. As a result, there’s never a dull moment. Battle scenes are genuinely tense and left me guessing whether the combatants would live or die. Purgatory Tower progresses naturally as silentkitty introduces new allies, antagonists, and mysteries while the story crescendoes toward the goal.
For the most part, the art is very attractive, with my only complaints coming from some slightly clunky compositions and perspectives. At one point, I stopped clicking through the pages to admire a breath-taking panel of Aisha and friends passing through a perilous jungle path. Yes, it literally did take my breath away, and I believe the word ‘Sweet!” passed through my lips. What can I say, I’m a sucker for beautiful detail and vivid colors. Unfortunately, this art is time-consuming if you aren’t doing it professionally. Nowadays, it seems like you have to wait a month between pages. It’s a shame, because silentkitty has done something amazing: she’s created a furry fantasy world that I would love to come back to, time and again.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
NOTE: The glowing nature of this review may be tempered by my love for Marvel’s Squirrel Girl. But then again, who doesn’t?
Posted on June 24, 2008, in 5 Stars, action webcomic, adventure webcomic, fantasy webcomic, furry webcomic, Furry Week, One Punch Reviews, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged Purgatory Tower. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.