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‘Suitor Armor’ REVIEW: Fantasy romance done right

By Rebekah Ilo Published Feb 14, 2022 5:08 pm

Lucia Chauvet's main purpose in life is simply to be the lady-in-waiting of the future queen. But as the royal wedding's deadline looms closer, she finds herself drawn to a mysterious knight made of nothing but metal, sparking a romance between a woman with many secrets to hide and an enchanted, sentient, suit of armor.

If you ever wanted to read a human/monster romance with a fascinating story that's based on traditional fairy folklore, Suitor Armor by Purpah is a comic that would give Guillermo Del Toro a run for his money.

Set in a world where fairies and humans are two races pitted against each other, Lucia has passed off as a human and takes careful steps to hide her true identity to prevent herself from being killed. Even her best friend, Kirsi, doesn’t know her secret. But only when being around Modeus does she learn to slowly tear down her walls around a place where she feels protected.

Modeus gives Lucia a white rose after winning a tournament.

It would be a stretch to coin this comic as a slow burn, since Lucia's interest in Modeus the knight has been quite obvious from the get-go.There are sweet, fluffy moments between the two of them, as well as healthy conflict that they do get over with lots of communication and compromise.

However, the route of these two is more on the path of discovering themselves as people. Lucia, coming to terms with her secret heritage while finding footing in her identity and Modeus, learning more about the world and knowing that there’s more to himself than just a suit of armor.

Modeus himself is comparable to a magical equivalent of a robot.  As he learns the truth along with Lucia, he makes informed decisions on his own, outside the influences of those who want to use him for nefarious purposes. They led up to this romantic trope where he surmises that if he wasn’t made for the purpose of killing, then he must be made for Lucia.

Then in a shocking twist of events, Lucia is horrified that Modeus would say that he was made for her.

Lucia is horrified by Modeus turning her into a lifeline.

She then proceeds to tell Modeus that it’s unhealthy to exist for someone else, because being what someone wants you to be is the quickest way of losing your identity, a painful experience that she can relate to. To which he wonders why he exists if not for a purpose. Lucia says a powerful, yet poignant sequitur that he can exist because he just does.

This comic makes a point of not using a significant other as a lifeline. Unlike most romance stories, Suitor Armor tells the reality of how being the main reason for someone’s existence might be a very emotionally risky thing to do. Purpah shows with a lot of delicateness how two people should be their own people and not be codependent to have a stable and healthy relationship.

This comic showcases romantic relationships in an equitable and healthy manner, one being King Reimund and Lady Kirsi having a respectful partnership. Kirsi and Reimund have been arranged to be married since they were born, and the webtoon’s plot point is focused on their upcoming wedding.

Kirsi is a character with a rather questionable outlook on things because of her bias of judging people for their outer appearance. This makes readers feel less sympathetic of her turmoil such as her father being sick as the deadline of the wedding looms closer, her best friend not truly confiding in her, and facing a major life change within a range of months. But there are many stars to her, although one needs to squint a little to see them.

However, with Reimund, a wise leader as well as a capable and kind fiancé, many have taken a liking to his way of dealing with things with equity, fairness, and compromise. His encouragement and fostering, as well as being patient towards Kirsi’s slight immaturity might bring out a great outcome—as these two lovebirds pave the way as a united front for their people—as they face the kingdom’s problems together.

Of course, queer couples also have a spotlight in this webtoon. Revealed to be a couple later on, this is due to trying to navigate cautiously as they try to bat away possibly unkind strangers revealing their sexuality. (For the sake of spoilers, I witheld saying which characters are queer because the nature of their relationship is a plot point) This loveteam also has the most balanced dynamic of all the couples so far in this webtoon, given that they seem to be the longest pairing that’s been together we’ve seen so far.

Kirsi being smitten over Reimund’s concern over her.

Modeus isn’t the only man that has taken a liking to Lucia, Norrix Gorelight, the court mage who created Modeus and has taken a fancy to Lucia because of her mutual interest in magic. He's an endearing character due to his passion for magic as well as his intellectual pursuits. But beneath the surface, he also has a spotty past, yet it’s been hinted that things about him aren’t what it seems. Whether he’ll turn into a full-blown antagonist or a sympathetic someone whose motivations are valid is still yet unknown. You’ll feel a tinge of pity for him as he slowly falls for Lucia and having these sweet interactions with her with the knowledge that they won’t end up together, since Lucia and Modeus are the true endgame.

Norrix and Lucia dancing at the ball, a romance that will never be.

What's great about this comic is, while romance may be the main draw, that's not the only motivating factor in the narrative. There’s a world out there outside of what’s happening to them. The worldbuilding really shines as we discover the setting through sheltered Lucia's eyes. One of the most intriguing aspects of their world is that there’s plenty of conspiracies surrounding the human-fae folk war and Lucia slowly unveiling the truth around her, as well as Modeus finding out the truth around his purpose of killing fairies.

Norrix shows Lucia how magic works. 

Of course, as a fantasy series, the lore of how magic is more of a hard magic system or a magic system with solid rules. If I have to draw a comparison, the magic system here is most similar to FullMetal Alchemist. Magic does not come from nothing, there’s an equivalent exchange when it comes to casting spells and curses. Practice of magic is also regulated and requires an official license (with said license in the form of a triangular medallion on the mage’s forehead). Like in FMA, magical experimentation with humans is forbidden. And that’s why fairies are a huge threat due to their unbridled usage of magic which led to many altercations between the two species.

All in all, this comic is like a swan boat ride through the tunnel of love for those who love romance and fantasy, and a top pick on your reading lists. But if you’re merely a curious reader, the narrative and solidly fleshed out characters with interesting motivations and very human flaws can be the thing that can make you stay and binge read it.

If you're ready to dive into the fantastical world of Suitor Armor, catch it on Webtoon, with updates every Friday.