“But no one listens.” I feel you, Hammerhead. Even though he doesn’t have Goblaurence’s understanding of functionality, the two of them do share this deep frustration with a world that refuses to make sense to them.

Not for the first time, we’re carrying over a dynamic first established outside of canon. Magda is basically Penk’s equal in courage, but she’s softer in some important ways, and she finds Hammerhead’s rough-hewn personality unnerving whereas Penk, at present, finds it reassuring.

Of course, none of them are soft enough to spare a word for the orcs’ enslavement, but certain injustices, once declared necessary, simply become part of the scenery until someone throws them back into sharp relief. If Penk or Magda entertain any qualms at this point, they keep them to themselves: their commanders have declared this labor necessary for the war, and they’re Champions, not statespeople.

That last panel is masterful. The dustclouds, the loincloth, the flowing run while Magda stands dumbstruck, and the single-syllable dialogue capturing Penk’s character, transitioning us to the f(r)ight scene, and expressing this as just a tiny, “one-syllable” moment. Both John and I were bringing our A-game to this one.