War looms over the fantasy world of The Meek as a grieving emperor heeds his demonic tiger advisor. A brigand on a quest to kill her boyfriend stumbles onto a city of children. And the only girl who can save the world can't bother to put on a shirt.
Der-Shing Helmer's The Meek is one of the most gorgeous comics on the Internet. Helmer's love of animation shines through with strong character designs and an incredible sense of emotion and movement in every panel.
The scope of the story is epic, focusing on three sets of characters. We open in the jungle with Angora, who is certainly the most attention-grabbing character in The Meek, both because of her bright green hair (plants tend to adhere to it) and her reluctance to wear clothes. Yes, the first chapter of the comic is NSFW, but Helmer presents Angora's nudity as matter-of-fact — and a sign of her innocence — rather than sexy.
Angora is our archetypal child-hero on a quest to save the world, and she comes with a wide-eyed naivete and plant-based superpowers. She has been given cryptic instructions by her "Grandfather," a mystical being who is caught up in a supernatural war that could destroy all of humanity. And she has, through sheer force of will, harangued Pinter, a drunken mapmaker, into joining her quest.
Meanwhile, in the midst of civilization, tensions are boiling between the Emperor Luca and the Carissi people, a tension that erupts when Luca suffers a maddening personal tragedy. Luca has his own supernatural being whispering in his ear, an omnipresent tiger demon who is pushing Luca toward war.
The third set of rotating arcs concerns Soli, a mercenary brigand looking to find and kill her ex-boyfriend. With her twelve-year-old sidekick, Soli liberates artifacts of technological significance while trying to stay ahead of the law. But the coming war threatens her simple bandit existence.
The battle between larger supernatural forces is the backdrop for The Meek, but Helmer is careful to focus her efforts on her human characters and their emotions and stories. And through the horrors of intrigue and war, there's a grim humor that runs through all the comic's storylines.
Plus, there's a bit of a mystery: while there are clear fantasy elements to The Meek, characters also carry guns and make use of a radio tower (although not everyone seems clear on its function). Which begs the question, is The Meek set on a world completely separate from our own, or built on the remnants of our civilization?
The Meek (NSFW)