As the Garden Grows by coldpups is a delight to behold. The webcomic flows with fascinating worldbuilding, an exciting plot, and consistent tension. It’s a compelling story about embracing yourself and your found family during uncertain times.
Weremage Freya sets off to start University to pursue a major in forestry. She and her brother, Odin, want to live a life without anyone discovering their secret. Unlike other mages on campus, Freya and Odin can shapeshift into alchemically altered beasts. But then Freya reveals herself following an incident during an in-class assignment. Now a classmate knows but is willing to keep it a secret. However, other people, especially those with money and power, would do worse if they find out about the twins.
As the Garden Grows, a lovely webcomic with high potential, crackles with tension and dynamic characterization. In this alternate world, different types of mages, each possessing certain abilities like shapeshifting and healing, exist. The creator takes time to get the characters settled before jumping into the main storyline. Freya and Odin have endured past trauma, but it doesn’t define them as characters. Yes, their past affects how they move and adapt to certain environments in the present (Freya’s social anxiety, for instance), but the current story drives their actions and internal reflections. Also, most of the main cast is LGBTQ+, although the story doesn’t center on coming out.
The story’s conflict and themes explore capitalism, mental health, and found family. Freya encounters Felix who turns out to be the TA in her plant mage class. Their blooming friendship becomes complicated when it’s revealed that Felix’s father owns the corporation responsible for Freya and Odin’s past. The character threads eventually come together as the story propels further, leaving enough room for character development.
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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