The urn returns in Episode 11 (Pt. 2)

While the battle continues, the evil urn Deli startles our heroes from behind. The villain seems to be reformed … but not in a good way! Will Tiqwah and Etgar find what they’re looking for in the aural grid before it’s too late?

This is Part 2 to “Slaughter in the Water,” and you can see the earlier part here.

Things get technical behind the scenes in this episode, as it starts to explain how the “Milhamah” characters weaponize their alfons to make blessing attacks outside of their own natural ability. Gradually readers will learn about these things over the next few episodes, but I’ll give a preview here.

Basically, Tiqwah and Etgar connected the speech balloon and the foundation glyph to their alfons to make new letters appear in the aural grid.

The aural grid shows sound frequencies, and Tiqwah and Etgar are looking for ‘Ivrit ones to do new attacks. The evil Bavel Empire try to scramble these ‘Ivrit frequencies to make it harder for the heroes to do this. (Though in Bavel’s perspective, they believe they’re actually unscrambling their own language!)

Anyway, it’ll be up to our heroes to find the correct sequence of letters needed — a shoresh root — to code in an alfon attack, or a blessing. Will they do this next episode? Maybe…

Meanwhile, what is Deli doing?

Etgar shot the urn in Episode 9, but now the fiendish jar is back. Well, it used an Akkadian curse called walа̄du. Deli’s natural shoresh root is dalet-lamed-yod (דלי). He’s using a permuted power caused by switching the letters around, (ילד). This undergoes a consonantal shift, as in Akkadian the same Semitic root is spelled waw-lamed-dalet (ולד).

The pink seal beneath Deli contains real Semitic letters and words. The Akkadian for walа̄du in the center. The Paleo-Hebrew and Ugaritic letters for (ילד) are in the middle orbit, plus the six different root permutations in Aramaic-style Hebrew script. The outer ring has the alef-bet.

So as the comic says, Deli permuted or switched his powers around to heal himself through a rebirth. Of course, since he’s from Bavel, he does this through the power of trickery and evil. Next episode you’ll learn the difference between the Holy Tongue’s Society’s truth-guided blessings and Bavel’s manipulative curses, and why it matters.

A side note

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Episode 11: Slaughter in the Water (Pt. 1)

This new episode’s first part isn’t exactly a slaughter, but good and evil go at it for another round. The last time “Milhamah: Fighting Words” had this much fighting between Shem and Deli, Shem took a walloping. Check and see what happens here…

Shem returns to battle.Shem fires an "osteoblast" of bone shards.Deli deflects the attack.Plan B looks a lot like Plan A.

Action scenes always take more time to design than talking head panels, but the end result is often satisfying. This time I tried to make things more dynamic by breaking the panel’s perspective with Shem’s “osteoblast” bone shard missiles.

I also added more sound effects and used the negative space outside the panels to contribute to the storytelling. I’ll probably do that more, especially in my remastered print edition. The goal is to begin selling copies in April with a couple of comic cons on the horizon!

Storywise, while Shem’s limited attack moves are a punchline here, I look forward to giving him more to work with in the scenes to come. Plus we need to see what Etgar and Tiqwah are doing in Episode 11 Part 2!

In other news…

Just a reminder: You can also see “Milhamah” comics on Tapas and Webtoon. I’m trying to grow those subscriber bases, so if you use those sites, you can get automatic notifications when new episodes come along.

Also, you can vote for “Milhamah” on the Top Webcomics page site, which draws a lot of webcomic fans. I’ll be promoting this more in the near future. Help this series climb the ranks!

Episode 8: A Bout with Doubt

In both fiction and in real life, evil adds insult to injury. It gloats and humiliates. It tries to make you doubt who you are and what you believe in. Sometimes it may even tempt you to question who God is.

In “Milhamah: Fighting Words” Episode 8, Shem ‘Etzem is faced with that same sort of evil from the Bavel Empire’s agent, Deli. Deli puts Shem up against the wall and then questions Shem’s loyalty to his own cause, the Holy Tongue Society.

Deli slanders Shem as an ogre and demon, but only looks at distorted outward appearances. For the record, Shem is human and not only has to fight a powerful foe, but people’s expectations over what a virtuous person should look like. Note also how the Bavel Empire accuses its critics not only of hypocrisy, but blasphemy!

This episode is also the first time that the 22 Foundational Glyphs are shown. These are tied to a non-biblical story of how God created the world through the 22 Hebrew letters.

In the fictional world of “Milhamah,” the letters (seen here in Phoenician or Ketav ‘Ivri “Paleo-Hebrew” style) are not mystical but tangible. After all, they exist in a world where grammar and parts of speech take human form.

As we end Episode 8, our hero may be conflicted and broken, but he’s not destroyed yet. Likewise, let’s persevere in our own lives — even when we don’t have all the answers neatly figured out.

The fight begins in ‘Aim for the Jugular’

After covering himself with ossified armor, Shem ‘Etzem tries to fight off the intruder Deli… to little success. Can Shem focus and pull himself together, or will he soon pass through Bavel’s gate as a captive?

Shem charges toward Deli to fight him.Shem's attack misses.Deli soars and lands in his humanoid vessel's hands.Deli fights back, using the urn as a baseball to score a home run on Shem.Shem flies backward toward Bavel's gate.

After a few episodes of buildup, the action scenes finally begin in “Milhamah: Fighting Words.” Part of the challenge of making this scene was illustrating motion and pacing the anticipation.

Manga-style speed lines and glowing brushstrokes help, but there is more room to push myself and improve. And because this comic now keeps the vertical scrolling webcomic format in mind, I’ve been adding more anticipation shots and facial expressions to tell the story through the images, and not just the dialogue.

It’ll be interesting to see where Shem’s impulsiveness takes him. He’s a bit of a contradiction, a volatile mix of focus and wild passion. The goal is to make him, for all his flaws, someone who’s memorable and easy to cheer on.

What do you like to see in a good fight scene? Which fight scenes in comics, TV shows or movies to you find most memorable, and why? Feel free to leave a comment. Questions and suggestions for “Milhamah” are welcome too!

Episode 6: A Jar is Born

In Episode 6, Shem ‘Etzem rejects the evil jar Deli and his suggestion to surrender to Bavel. Will Shem’s ability to form bone armor help fight off this intruder?

Deli reveals himself in a Bavel gate.

Deli the evil jar introduces himself. Deli introduces his humanoid "vessel." Deli urges Shem to surrender. Shem drops the dalet... ... then grows bone armor and charges toward Deli. Follow us on social media!

The conflict is starting to heat up, and we learn a little about Bavel’s ideology. It not only wants a world with a single language, but also a world with no competing nations, cultures or religions. As the comic develops, the characters will show how Bavel plans to do this.

After earlier using his spiny bone armor to break through a wall, Shem is ready to use it again: This time for attack! Look forward to seeing more of Shem’s superpowers in the next installment.

This episode stylistically marks a big change in format. This is the first time I switched from a standard comic strip format to a webcomic one, as commonly seen on Tapas and Webtoon. I also punched up the colors and refined the color levels to alter the mood. And this time the comic incorporates several effects from Clip Paint Studio EX.

Overall, I hope Episode 6 marks a new milestone in the development of “Milhamah.” I already started the seventh episode, and I hope to get on a consistent release schedule soon.

So what do you think about the characters, plot and setting so far? Leave questions and suggestions in the comments!