Creator: Liyanya (@Liyanya_)
Publisher: WebToon (@webtoonofficial)
WHAT IS IT?
A Dark Lord in training and a beloved soon-to-be-hero must learn to balance school drama, monstrous beasts, and a secret romance in the first part of this fan-favorite boys’ love webcomic.
Think My Hero Academia meets Lucifer.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Gendry Tenebris is in a long-term relationship with his childhood best friend, Seyren Longhao, and they are madly in love. There are only two tiny problems with their relationship; they still haven't kissed, and Gen happens to be a Dark Lord in training despised by literally everyone he meets. Worse still, Seyren is a heroborn on the side of justice and can hardly walk out of his house without being recognized and flocked by adoring fans. He's beloved by all and everyone around them expects the loud-mouthed hero to topple the dark prince's regime before it can even come to fruition.
Balancing their love life and the chaos of their school days proves to be more of a challenge than they initially thought, but Gendry and Seyren are bound and determined to make the most out of the situation and prove to the world that, though Gendry may be a Dark Lord, he's not as evil as everyone believes he is. With high-profile tests, intense bullying, growing pains and a secretive romance, can Gendry and Seyren survive the changes that come alongside this new phase of their lives, or will they crumble under the societal pressures placed upon them? Oh, and Herocon is right around the corner so things are about to get messy!
Liyanya’s illustrations are gorgeous! The anime-influenced colors and design choices are prominent but her own unique style shines through in the characters and environments. Each panel is vibrant, the characters are expressive, and the sprawling metropolis the boys call home is full of life and vivid imagery. It's absolute eye-candy and fans of titles like Promare will absolutely love this series.
The narrative is rich and enjoyable, it feels like a coming-of-age story but the elements of heroism, epic battles, and relationship-heavy storytelling makes for an engaging read that pretty much anyone can enjoy. ODLAC has a lot of heart and character development that makes for a highly engaging series with a lot of potential for multiple reads. It balances the cutesy/comedic romance with its serious and often dark points perfectly.
The lettering is perfect for a series like this. The SFX fonts are expertly chosen for the scenes and really enhance the story without detracting from what’s going on in the panels, and the various font choices for the dialogue helps sell the conversations without going overboard. You get the perfect level of emotion without it cluttering the bubbles or feeling over-the-top.
Liyanya’s large team of assistants, colorists, line artists and "frienditors" do a phenomenal job, especially with the massive scale of this series. Each panel is consistent with its flats, colors, and line work, and the series is a smooth read throughout that looks cohesive and is full to bursting with details. The variety of textures, shading, and color palettes makes for a pleasing reading experience.
Despite the heavy romance lean of the series, the action is top-notch and often gets overshadowed by the relational side of things when the title is brought up in conversation. They’re intense and well illustrated, the movements of the characters come across as dynamic and really pop off of the screen. You can almost feel the action as the cast and the monsters they fight dart across the panels.
The scenery and overall design of the city is phenomenal, it’s alive and breathing with motion, community, and energy. The scale and perspective makes it feel sprawling and the level of detail put into it is commendable and not something often seen in titles of this scale. It reminds me a lot of Sanfransokyo in Big Hero 6.
Gendry and Seyren’s relationship dynamic is thoughtful, poignant, and touching. You can feel how much they care about each other despite the world trying to tear them apart through the small actions, words, and touches they share in the moments they’re allowed. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and a highly engaging story that will have you screaming, awwiing, and laughing non-stop.
Each chapter is quite lengthy compared to a lot of webcomics, making it a binge-worthy title that is well worth the investment of time and coins. It’s a perfect rainy day comfort series that you can easily spend a whole afternoon getting lost in.
A small touch that I personally love is the rack-focus perspective used throughout the webcomic. Backgrounds are often blurred and out of focus, making for a dynamic view on the world that feels cinematic. It’s a nice touch that adds a lot.
Liyanya has created an incredible wardrobe for the cast. In almost every episode Gendry, Seyren, and a lot of the minor characters are always dressed in a fashionable outfit that fits their personality and the scene. It’s another small detail that really stands out and makes this a high-quality title.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Some scenes that may be distressing for some readers (severe bullying, violence involving minors, acts of prejudice, eye horror, etc.), as well as mild language, strong uses of hate speech, and a lot of violence including blood. The series may come across as cutesy, but it does not shy away from the harsh reality and abuse that Gendry and his brother Gale must endure to survive.
The scenes involving a younger Gendry and Gale being manipulated and abused can be a lot to handle and can be highly upsetting. Luckily, the episodes that do contain these scenes are given a CW label at the top to forewarn readers.
The first couple of episodes bounce around quite a bit (with a lot of flashbacks, sudden jumps to battle sequences, etc.) so it can be a bit jarring to keep up until the story smooths out around episode 5.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Returning after a near year-long hiatus, the second half of this beloved webcomic’s first season has been highly anticipated by fans worldwide! Liyanya and her team have been hard at work behind the scenes and readers are ecstatic for the continuing romance and antics of everyone’s favorite would-be hero and dark lord, especially after the dynamic battle that wrapped right before the hiatus.
Of Dark Lords and Cabbages is a fast-paced, highly engrossing coming of age story about young love and finding one's identity that will grab you attention and refuse to let go! Now is a perfect time to catch up if you haven’t read the series, but I highly suggest you grab a snack and make yourself comfortable because you won’t be able to put your phone down once you start!
Fans of modern superhero IPs like My Hero Academia and Overwatch, and fans of the style and flow of the anime film Promare will love Of Dark Lords and Cabbages. With its sprawling world, lovable cast of characters, and unique take on heroism, this series is a must read for seasoned webcomics fans and newcomers looking to break into the medium. The series touches on many emotional elements and showcases not only the darkest deeds people are capable of, but it highlights the purest and most wholesome parts of what makes humanity so special. It’s gripping, full of queer goodness that is honest and not afraid to pull punches, and a wonderful narrative about strength, determination, and love. This is a phenomenal webcomic you definitely won’t want to miss!
HOW DO I READ IT?
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