Published: 2018 and 2019 by Sarah Milman
“I don’t want to be calm. I want to be angry. I want to be furious.”
A world identical to our own – identical that is, apart from all the orcs, elves and magic… A love letter to Final Fantasy and Lord of the Rings, NPC Tea is about Cardiff’s least popular tea shop, Y Ddraig, run by a perfectionist elf and a laid-back fire summon.
NPC Tea follows an ex-fire summon, an elf and a magicless human as they attempt to save a failing tea shop in modern-day Cardiff. Soon they find out that a lack of customers and caddies upon caddies of rotting tea are the least of their worries when a type of banned magic rears it’s ugly head and threatens to destroy the entire city. Bryn, Oz and Hannah must unite if they are to save their business – and ultimately the city itself.
An 8 issue series, NPC Tea escalates from a slice of life comedy into an epic fantasy, twisting typical RPG and fantasy stereotypes into a modern-day setting. It’s about what happens when there are no more dungeons to crawl when magic needs to be organized, and when orcs, elves and men try to live peacefully side by side – a balance that’s harshly tested when an entire city is threatened with destruction…
Some of you might remember that back in December 2018 I posted a review for issues 1 through 5 of NPC Tea, a beautiful, fun comic by writer and illustrator Sarah Milman. I had initially thought to review issues 6 through 8 together after issue eight releases later this year but with the events of issues 6 and 7 as well as the Kickstarter campaign for issue 8 going live I thought it would be a good time to review these two together and urge you to get on board with the series ready for the final issue! I’ll keep this spoiler-free for the entire series as much as possible for those of you who may have not have read the others yet! You can order issues 1-7 via Sarah’s Etsy store here right now if you want to catch up asap or if you back the Kickstarter you can choose to receive all of the single issues (with an exclusive slipcase to keep them all together neatly) OR a hardback bindup of all of them! Not forgetting Sarah also has a Patreon where at the $1 tier you can read up to issue 6 digitally right away!
I stumbled upon Sarah and at MCM Comic-Con in London a few years ago and was absolutely hooked on the art and the plot! I’ve always loved worlds where high fantasy and contemporary can mix with a nice dollop of magic stirred in and NPC Tea is all that and more! These books capture that perfect balance where this is still fantasy but set in a modern world. I have remained hooked on this series ever since and I’m super nervous and excited about the final (possibly for good) issue coming very soon!
I think this might be my favourite issue so far. There are just so many great moments, of which two are ‘romance’ related and they just fit in so seamlessly, they up the stakes and work so well with the main plot-line. At this point in the story, it’s starting to feel like the beginning of the end in that we begin to find out more about what’s really going on and the final plans are being carried out as the endgame nears. We get more background on the summons and the interactions between them were fantastic. The writing and illustrations have been consistently brilliant throughout the series but the use of colour felt a lot more prominent in this issue and was absolutely gorgeous, I will never get over how much I love the style Sarah has chosen to use for this series. The dialogue too has been ramped up a notch (although the banter in the past few issues has been on point) this mixed with perfectly timed scene cuts made all served to build a brilliant amount of tension throughout the issue, with separate scenes binding together in such a satisfying way that meant it all just came together perfectly. Cait definitely wins MVP for this issue, I loved every scene she was in and her trick with her sword was bad-ass.
The penultimate issue! When this issue arrived I was SO hesitant to read it purely because I wasn’t ready for it. I’ve loved this series these past few years and the thought that we were coming to the end was terrifying! I lasted two days before I gave in and then read it three times in one sitting just to make sure I had taken it all in. The same praise issue six received applies here although there are, understandably less ‘romantic’ moments. This is a heavy issue filled with a startling reveal and we get down to lore down. As mentioned about issue six, Sarah once again uses the same fantastic technique of linking separate scenes meaning we get that lore from both sides but without having to repeat it. I did get confused when a certain character popped up as it took me a while to place them which prompted me to reread the entire series thus far (like I needed any more of an excuse) and it seemed I had just forgotten about them but read all together it made much more sense so this is my own fault. If Hannah wasn’t already my favourite character she absolutely would have been after this issue, I love her spirit and she definitely wins MVP for issue seven.
I am in no way emotionally ready for issue eight.
If you enjoyed this or are intrigued by the series then keep your eyes peeled for an interview with creator herself, Sarah Milman coming this Thursday!