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Reviews Comments: Wavers between inane and obnoxious Exiern whole series review by Richard Pilbeam

"Exiern" opens with a stock barbarian warrior rescuing a stock helpless princess from a stock evil sorcerer. The situation is then immediately turned on its head when a magical accident drains the sorcerer's powers and transforms the barbarian into a woman. While none of this is done particularly well, the simple fact that it starts off by subverting the usual paradigm suggests that the story will at least take us to interesting places.

It doesn't.

There's potential here, but it's all squandered through laziness and cynicism on the author's part. A big macho barbarian suddenly forced to live as a woman could go in all sorts of directions - it could be a redemption story, or social commentary, or a deconstruction of gender stereotypes in fantasy, or a comedy of embarrassment. But Exiern doesn't bother exploring its premise, and what we end up with is a tedious sword & sorcery pastiche that's just as hackneyed as the material it thinks it's parodying.

The remainder of the comic - that's five years of strips - involves the barbarian, the princess and the sorcerer meandering around and encountering stereotypical fantasy characters in stereotypical fantasy situations, which are then "subverted" in one of two ways: Either they're "parodied" in the most inane way possible (ha ha ha, the guards are stupid, what a yarn), or someone gets turned into a woman because the barbarian's curse is contagious when the plot says so. Regardless of what happens, we always end up with at least one woman stripped naked, her nipples and crotch obscured by speech balloons and/or foreground objects...

...that you can pay $3.95 to remove.

It's cynical, exploitative and sleazy - whoever called the fanservice "self-mocking" on the tropes page is wrong; the female characters are routinely stripped, leered at, tied up, groped and (implicitly) threatened with rape, all of which the author presents in loving detail, for money. Meanwhile, their personalities are defined by traits like "slutty" and "loves shoes". There's no other level to it, it's just straightforward misogyny.

The author defends this as something he's required to do to keep the comic popular, poor him. In a sense, he's right: The porn is what's keeping people coming back, but so would - say - a story that's actually worth reading.


  • 4th Aug 10
This review clearly belongs under a "just bugs me" heading instead of the review section. The lack of any concrete examples from the strip and the blatant vitriol running through the entire post marks this as a rant not a review. Donít get me wrong I am not saying Exiern is a quality product in any way but if you are writing a review it should be about the comic not about a personal vendetta you have against the creator and their business model. Shames on the moderators for letting this go through.
  • 25th Aug 10
I love this series, and see no reason to talk bad of it, i mean if you feel so intellectual why read a webcomic instead of a book? while comics do present valuable info they are comics, mean to be a distraction.
  • maninahat
  • 25th Aug 10
This is a solid review and I found it convincing. Having never heard of Exiern I had no plan to read it anyway. Now I know for certain that I never will.
  • 17th Sep 10
Let me get this straight? You have never read of or heard of the comic but you think the review is "solid". Well, I guess Exiern is not for you then. The comic asks that the reader make judgments based on evidence instead of just blindly accepting the ranting of a clearly angry individual with an ax to grind. It's a bit of challenging read actually, if you your the type of person who finds the act of thinking challenge.
  • fastforward
  • 3rd Nov 12
Why is this trolling nonsense still here? Richard rage quit the internet back in 2007 an yet his poison is still here? This review never had anything to do with the comic. It was all about how it made Richard fell funny in his pants and that was bad because his mommy told him so. He was never was able to see past the adult nature of Exiern an understand it was an exploration of gender roles and how misogyny impacts the individual and society. His analysis was Nudity=Evil, which has logic if your 10 years old, but has no place a proper discussion of either gender roles or entertainment.

Now that the comic has changed writers this this review is even more ridiculous and it start out pretty damn ridiculous to begin with. Why are we archiving the mad ranting of an troll with the emotional maturity of a 10 year old?

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