Staff: Tony Sedani
A very creative little comic that stumbles now and again but gets up and keeps fighting.
Hey guys, today I am looking at Return to Rander by Tony Sedani. Looks like a samurai western judging by the cover (and I love me some samurai and westerns) so I’m going to jump in feet first!
The first note I’ll make here is that there is some really stellar character designs in this comic. A lot of creativity went into them and it shows. However, in terms of overall artistic prowess it’s definitely not professional grade. It’s not distracting or even outright bad, it’s just that some of the shots have some perspective disagreement and issues with consistency (in terms of quality and anatomy). Again, not BAD art but it didn’t knock my socks off either. There are a few instances where they chance the page size, but not enough to be a double-spread. It makes it a little hard to read with standard PDF readers.
In terms of lettering the dialogue balloons are outstanding. I feel like maybe they left a little too much empty space around the actual text, but it’s better to leave too much rather than make it all crammed in there. A center diamond layout for the text’s distribution could probably have given this comic a more professional look in a few places but it’s legible and not distracting- and that’s the important part of a comic’s lettering.
Dialogue-wise this comic has it’s ups and downs. There are some fun lines (“Why do you have to be so cryptic?” “Talking skulls are always cryptic…”) but overall it is some pretty stock dialogue. Sometimes it seems like they are just espousing characterization rather than natural language in the same way someone might do an exposition dump. I am happy to say that we are not given a steaming pile of exposition at any one point in this comic and the natural build of the plot is a point in its favor.
Unfortunately the overall plot is a bit derivative and, while we get some promising early glimmers, the characters are pretty generic. A heroic protagonist with no memory has been done to death and a protection racket on a inn where the hero helps out for little-to-no reason? Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. There seems to be a bigger plot at play so judging it on the merits of the first issue is probably not the best idea. I see the first sparks of a really solid plot and I’d be interested to see where it goes.
Overall, this is a very creative comic with a good mind behind it. It has it’s weak points, primarily when the writer relies on stock tropes rather than taking risks, but really shine when they go for their own style. If I had to draw a parallel, it’s in the same vein as Avatar: The Last Airbender or even Samurai Jack when it is at it’s not on that level. Ultimately, I’d recommend you pick up this book and see where it goes. I only review the first issue of comics but if I had to guess there is a much bigger story at play and it will get tantalizingly good in a few issues. Give it a read!