We’ve seen some eclectic subjects for webcomic, from post-modern superheroes in Vanguard to post-apocalyptic rodents in Scurry. But next we look at Curia Regis, a political period drama set in a fictional version of 17th century France courtesy of creator Robin Hoelzemann about a group of friends revolting against the current establishment. However, will this series show itself to be king or will it end up on the (guillotine’s) chopping block?
Writer: Robin Hoelzemann
Artist: Robin Hoelzemann
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Set in a revolutionary (though somewhat fictionalised) period of France, Curia Regis follows the story of five friends; Jacques, Maren, Gideon, Rosa and Dom, as they navigate the political landscape of their now monarchless country in order to wrestle the control, power and wealth that they consider theirs from those who now rule in the king’s stead. However, as the group move forward with their plans, a combination of distractions and obstacles, as well as their own individual secrets and lies, threaten to unravel all they work towards, possibly costing them both their prize and maybe even their lives.
Curia Regis quite an enjoyable series, with its more political intrigue angle making it very different to the predominantly superhero/action comics on offer. It’s main draw is the interactions between the characters as each member of this cast is a multi-layered individual, no two of which comes across as the same. Chief among those is Marie, who comes across as an incredibly independent character who works both sides to achieve her goals, meanwhile attempting to keep her more personal problems hidden from both friend and foe. Then there is Jacques, who despite having the same viewpoint as Marie, also has a different outlook on the world and seems to have separate goals to his collaborators. Almost all of the other characters are equally interesting, though to a lesser extent, with the exception of the Regent, who thus far is shown as a more stereotypical villain. If there is one main criticism it is that the objective of the protagonists is not entirely clear, although this does assist in keeping the story compelling in the hope of an answer in the near future.
As for the art, Hoelzemann competently matches her story with some beautiful soft, clean pencils coupled with a light, earthy colour scheme for a style reminiscent of the Luna brothers and one which works well on this dialogue heavy, action light period story. This style is shown off fantastically throughout, and is best scene at the opening shot of the cafe and the silent page of Marie and Gideon fighting. Hoelzemann’s style in this series also displays a heavy hint of modernism despite it’s historical setting, with both clothing and architecture looking both unlike the time and more art deco. This, along with a more modern dialogue amongst characters, helps to ease the reader into this new world.
Despite being somewhat complex, Curia Regis is a wonderful webcomic with depth, beauty and some real potential to be a great series. While many may be put off of such an idea as a historical intrigue story, Hoelzemann has made an interesting tale which is written well and looks gorgeous that it is definitely worth a look at least.