I’ve been lucky enough to have been on-board with Sarah Millman’s NPC Tea since the very beginning (1 & 2, 3-5, 6 & 7) and with it reaching it’s finale in this eighth issue I just knew I had to savour how things concluded.
This has evolved from a slice of life look at running a failing business into an epic blend of real world and a magical one but after the build-up to the previous issue left things on a knife-edge, it’s in this issue that we see just how everything plays out. The core cast of an ex-fire summon, an elf and a human has grown with each issue and with magic becoming an ever-increasing element in both the Cardiff Tea shop and the bigger plot that’s emerged, it’s clear that Sarah has had her work cut-out with trying to create,write, draw, letter and everything-else this series.
The face-off between the cast we’ve grown to love and the secret group trying to hunt down the Magic in their city & the fantastic beings that have the power to wield it, has become something far greater than the sum of it’s parts. The dynamic of ‘them vs us’ is something that’s really grown legs since it was hinted at a few issues back but the ever-growing risk from those shadowy figures has been the catalyst in forcing some long hidden secrets & unspoken attractions bubble to the surface.
The closeness between the main players has let the diverse relationships grow, crack and heal with a deep natural vibe that gives this issue and all the issues before it a beating heart. A heart that keeps the world fresh, grounded and creates an ultimately rewarding epic to get completely lost in. The personal battles & risks have built to a crescendo across this issue in particular and the frenetic pacing has an instant effect of sweeping you off your feet and keeping you hooked until the end.
I can’t give details away on what actually unfolds in this final issue as I really don’t want to deprive anyone of discovering just how well things play out. In fact, there are two things that have kept this as engaging as it is and that’s the growth of the story itself but also the growth of it’s creator with every page turn. The depth in the characters, the use of colour to empower scenes and the whole intricate connections between both the real world & the magic world have proven to be something that’s elevated this to all new heights.
An eight issue run in the indie world is an achievement in itself but to have a run where things accelerate & escalate in such a consistent way and across pretty much every area of it’s creation, makes this something far more special than it probably first seems. I’m sad that it’s ended but also feel fortunate to have been able to stay on-board with this at every step to see that success blossom. This issue is then a perfect mix of satisfying ending that still retains the option for more……..so take a bow Milmo…..take a bow.