Creator: Susanna “Suspu” Nousiainen (@suspu)
Editors: Dayna Broder and Bekah Caden
Flatter: Yana (@hiisia)
Publisher: WebToon (@webtoonofficial)
WHAT IS IT?
Heir’s Game is an action-packed queer drama about politics, revolution, sword fights, and risking it all in the name of forbidden love.
Think The Three Musketeers meets Romeo and Juliet if it was part of the battle royale genre.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Theuden Davut is the heir to the duchy of Belluna. As he reaches his 25th birthday, the time-honored tradition of finding his lifelong bodyguard is initiated. They call it the Heir’s Game. This tournament sees warriors and soldiers from far and wide come to compete for the coveted position. Enter Isran, a quiet, steely-eyed swordsman, and suddenly the games become a whole lot more interesting.
As Isran reluctantly forges bonds with the competition and the games begin, the fighters must not only battle for survival but learn to handle the pressure of high society and the strict rules that come alongside this famed opportunity. With Theuden’s rebellious spirit and Isran’s notoriety growing more with each passing day, the two cannot help but be drawn together after several chance encounters force their paths to cross.
The revolutionaries are scheming, assassination attempts are planned, and the dangerous nature of the games fills the streets with blood. Once unshakeable expectations are shuddered as duelists and royalty start to question the choices being made for them and a chance to shape a brighter future hangs tauntingly in the balance.
The Heir's Game will never be the same.
Suspu’s sword and romance-filled webcomic is crafted with much care and research. The heavily underutilized swashbuckler genre adds a certain romanticism to the class-based struggles of the story, while the whispers of a revolution and old world views enhance the feeling of delving into a classic action-adventure novel.
The dialogue is spectacularly done. The regal characters speak in a manner that feels aristocratic, while Isran’s lack of literacy is portrayed in a way that makes sense for his upbringing and way of life. Each character’s verbal style comes across clearly and it adds to the believable contrast between the rich and the poor.
The art style is both soft and simplistic, with lightly textured backgrounds and set pieces that are subtle to allow the historical-leaning outfits and characters to be at the forefront of the scene.
Flat colors are an integral part of this webcomic as many panels have minimal-to-no textures or shading, leaving a simple layer of rich, solid colors, so Yana's work shines through in the chapters they assisted with.
The use of colors to accent the class differences enhances the believability of the narrative, with jewel-toned palettes for the upper class sitting opposite of earthy, beige-leaning tones for the common folk. It’s another simple yet effective way that the vast differences between them are highlighted.
The characters have realistic builds, expressive faces, and features that showcase a broad range of ethnicities. The wardrobes feel as if they were taken straight out of a big-budget historical drama and the care/attention to detail is immediately noticeable.
The duels are one of the shining pieces of this series. The movement of the blades and duelists’ bodies are flawlessly executed, you can almost feel the wind whiff off the edge of the blade as it swings across the panel. The fights are lengthy, well-choreographed, and entertaining to read as the anticipation to see who survives ramps up.
The defiance of expectations in the series is well done for the established reality. The female fighters are out to prove themselves as equals, the young aristocrats question the efficiency of unchanged methods, and the struggle to love freely are all portrayed in ways that feel accurate for the historical-leaning setting.
The cast is perfectly sized and each character is given plenty of time in the spotlight. Minor characters are fleshed out and have pull in the narrative, which makes them feel important to the progression of the story and the development of Theuden and Isran as protagonists. The secondary plotlines are just as entertaining as the main narrative.
The queer-focused relationships are written with care; they take time to develop and the struggles that come alongside them feel natural and paced in a manner that validates love-at-first-sight emotions but reminds us that it takes time to develop into something real.
The world of Heir’s Game had been crafted in such a way that it feels as though it could be tangible history. It has a Hamilton-esque flair to it with the detailed setting, the extravagant outfits, and political drama. Suspu has created a powerful series that easily takes its place amongst the other epics of its kind.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Graphic violence/gore and blood, strong language, excessive use of alcohol, and uncomfortable conversations involving homophobia and sexism that might be upsetting to some readers.
The world of Heir’s Game is vast. Many countries, religions, and rich histories are eluded to but never really discussed in heavy detail. It doesn’t really detract from the story but readers who want more lore/widespread world-building might be left a bit disappointed.
The rules of the duels aren't fully explained until chapter 31, after several fights have already come and gone. While the game itself is not as important as the overarching romance to the main story, it does feel a bit late in the game to cover those details.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
With its vibrant color palettes, powerfully written characters, cheer-inducing fights and gripping story, the first season of Heir’s Game is an addictive introduction to an original and stunning webcomic. With 42 chapters of royal politics, swashbuckling fights and daring deeds, this fantasy period piece hits the ground running and refuses to stop from the moment the games begin. The camaraderie and relationships between the main cast members are both touching and funny, and the blossoming romances make every high-stakes battle all the more intense. A perfect ratio of drama, action, and humor, Heir’s Game takes readers on an epic journey.
With its engaging sword fights and tournament-style rules, the games set up a high-stakes aesthetic that invokes the chivalry-filled, life-or-death-fueled days of yore when swordsmanship was king. Rife with political intrigue and romance, this epic first season sets up a gripping series that reaches a variety of readers with its perfectly mixed genres. The cliffhanger ending is sure to have you hitting the next button and heading straight for season two without any hesitation. If you like your comics filled with ballet, ballgowns, blood, and blades, Heir's Game is a must.
HOW DO I READ IT?
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