Farel Dalrymple's It Will All Hurt is not a webcomic for those looking for an easily distilled plotline or characters whose motivations are instantly clear. Instead, it's a beautifully watercolored, dream-like post-apocalyptic adventure, one that invites you to sit back and drift through its fantasy world—and manages to be funny, strange, and sad in the process.
Dalrymple doesn't bother with backstory in those first few pages (although there are hints that we're traveling through a post-apocalyptic landscape), instead giving us a strange, haunted intimacy with his first protagonist, the shapeshifting Almendra, quietly giving us a sense of her powers and the world in which she lives. But the perspective rapidly shifts, to an astronaut on the run, to a gleeful boy wizard who remembers what life was like before, to a cat who seems to know all.
Eventually, a vague plot does emerge. There's a Red Wizard who must be defeated and a fellowship that seems to be forming. But It Will All Hurt isn't about the plotline so much as it is about the experience of reading. Dalrymple has a visual imagination that makes his world seem truly otherworldly, but a restraint that lets the loneliness, joys, and troubled minds of his characters bleed through. And he lets the story wander wherever his pen and brush will take him, so that moments of poetry ("Now Robot Tod. Thinks and acts but never speaks.") becoming defining traits that he must play with, especially as his characters' paths begin to intersect.
All the while, there is a sense that we're simply traveling through someone's particularly eerie dream—perhaps Dalrymple's, perhaps Almendra's, or perhaps that of Gato Gris, the comic's self-declared feline narrator.