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WARD

‘Most Emotional Impact In A Story’ – Award in 2018

By Voracious Reader, member

Dec 26, 2018: So, Superheroes, right? Blockbuster action, witty one-liners, physics-breaking powers, convoluted origin stories, sometimes borderline power fantasy and wish fulfillment.

Then, suddenly, Worm.

Where Watchmen was an outright deconstruction of the genre, Worm tried to reconstruct many of the old tropes, giving them justification. And showing us how such a world was basically destined to self-destruct.

Ward?

Ward is a different kind of story. Spoilers, it’s a post-apocalyptic superhero story, with the customary turns into the horror genre that we’ve all come to expect from Wildbow.

It is very much not Taylor’s story. Depending on why you actually liked Worm, that can be a good thing, or bad.

First of all, this new main character is a Big Damn Hero. Yes, there’s a slippery slope, and there are justifications, and there’s escalating justifications, but so far, the protagonist places a lot of value in following the Law, alternatively doing what seems right, and asking for help from friends if that is unclear. The drawback is a less versatile and munchkin-able power, forcing our heroine to fight more based on knowledge and training.

Furthermore, where Worm mainly concerned itself with the traumas that cause people to lash out or reach for power, Ward deals with people trying to cope with or overcome theirs. This red thread can be found in basically every story arc.It helps give the story a more hopeful tone, even as the world lies in ruin.

Last, while Worm focussed very much on Taylor, this new story is just as much about the protagonist’s team as it is about her. When I compare our new group of misfits and rascals to the Undersiders, there is a large difference in how well-fleshed-out they are. Wildbow’s characters were always lifelike, three-dimensional people, but Ward brings them into focus, and devotes much screen-time to party banter and extensive interludes from their perspective.

Some of these interlude contain the finest damn writing I’ve seen in Webserials, delivering the heaviest emotional punches to my psyche since . . . well, since the end of Worm. I never could have imagined that all it would take for my heart to shatter is a little girl smiling.

As it stands now, Ward is my favourite Wildbow work. I’m certain more beloved characters will die or worse. I’m certain I will cry and rage against the cruel ‘bow. And yet, I’m certain that four days afterwards I will greedily read the next chapter, because I know in the end, all the pain and anguish will be worth it.

3 of 6 members found this review helpful.
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