The Not So Golden Age

The Not So Golden Age

Staff: Phil Buck and Joseph Freistuhler

Overview:

Golden aged, public domain, goodness on a whole new level.

Review:

For those of you who don’t know- I’m a huge proponent of the public domain. Short version: creators should maintain a hold on their work for a while then be subject to the market. Forcing DC to write better Batman series (yes- he would be in the public domain were it not for Mickey Mouse and Sonny Bono) because others are writing good stories too is not a bad idea.

 

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that “The Not So Golden Age” uses a number of public domain superheroes in it and shows us why it’s such a positive thing. The comic opens on a trailer park in Reno where 2 heroes and 1 villain, all retired, are living together. Honestly- that’s what got me. Love the golden age, love the setup, love the subversion.

 

The comic also REEKS of nostalgia- fake cheesy toy ads in the front of the book, those golden aged yellow and black narration boxes, that off-white color of the page *sniffle sniffle*, sorry but it’s just so perfect. My inner comic hipster is crying with joy.
But seriously. The tone established in this comic is top notch. I’ve never seen it does anywhere else and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. A lot of the shortcomings of this comic can be forgiven due to its total commitment to the aesthetic. Like the lettering is a little cramped… but that is kind of how they did it back in the day.

 

Art:

If there is a shortcoming it’s in the art. It’s really a shame too. A lot of it is really just downright fantastic- great use of texture, shadow, perspective, and the character designs of the aging characters are really nailed in all their cheesy glory. However some of the scenes feel really awkwardly empty. A skybox left devoid of detail here, a weird visual set up there, an occasional untextured element to a scene that should totally have had texture, and a few other minor things. A lot of the exterior shots look really big and empty. Maybe that was intended to match the tone of the comic but it really just feels… I don’t know. Kind of like poser 3D artwork in that they don’t detail the entire scene- just the few characters in it. I feel like there should be something on the ground in the exterior shots that we are missing. So it’s a real hit AND miss. Like 90% of it is grade A awesome and that 10% tends to kill me now and again. This is probably because of how good the rest of it is that it stands out to me.

 

Writing / Story:

The writing however is glorious. A lot of pop culture references you immediately get, some genuine chuckles now and then where you laugh along with the characters, etc. Wasn’t psyched at the use of some chatspeak (WTF) but there was a 4th wall breaking joke I kinda of chuckled at. The reveal at the midpoint is pretty hilarious and the writer did a great job characterizing each trailer park tenant with only a few lines or a single scene (something professional writers often fail at).

There is a second story (the first story being titled A Golden Aged Murder)called “Not Another Death in the Family” (a reference to the infamous Batman “Death in the Family” storyline). It gets a little more parody-ish than the first, which I was not a big fan of. It basically does every sidekick trope out there, does a few parodies of batman poses and lines, and a few parodies of famous covers. I honestly wasn’t as big of a fan of this one as the first. It was a bit shorter and thought I cracked a smile, I didn’t get the same joy from this one as I did the first (too reliant on comic book meta I think).

 

Overall:

So all and all… read the shit out of this book. It’s got charm, laughs, a brain in a robot, and a lady with 47 cats who drinks box wine. What more could you want? Honestly though, this was a lot of fun to read. As a comic fan, I really loved a lot of the throw backs and in jokes (even when they got a little too thinly veiled) and the overall presentation was nothing short of fantastic. Give it a read.

 

Metrics:

Art: 6/10 [Liked it, didn’t love it]

Lettering: 6/10 [Very “golden aged” but had some golden age drawbacks too]

Plot: 7/10 [Genuine laughs. Relied a bit heavily on meta at time.]

Novelty: 10/10 [I loved the premise and presentation. Read for this alone if you must.]

Overall: 7.25/10

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Rok of the Reds

Rok of the Reds

Staff: John Wagner, Alan Grant, Dan Cornwell, Abby Bulmer, Jim Campbell

 

Overview:

Aliens, soccer, piss-drunk celebrities. In that order.

 

Review:

Today’s comic is Rok of the Reds. It’s got some pedigree behind it but I’m kind of setting that aside while I review it (I’ll talk about it at the end). I’m mostly just reviewing it because the first few pages had aliens, colliding planets, and soccer. (Note: I’m American so I’ll be calling what everyone else calls “football”, “soccer”)

 

Art:

Top class. This is a full color one with a lot of love put into every image. From the facial images to the color pallet it’s a gem. I won’t talk too much on this, I normally only do that when there is something wrong, but suffice it to say that it is nothing shy of professional grade. There is a lot of individual characterization put into the face of each person, giving us some real insight visually into characters. They do well with the bigger scenes too- showing a real knowledge of scope and perspective in some key shots that I really enjoyed.
There were a few things I didn’t like. Minor things. A few instances of some more deformed/cartoony proportions pop out of nowhere with human characters (it’s something with some of the eyes I think), some minor proportional issues, and the way they portray lights is a little weird. Nothing that ruins the comic by any stretch- just minor things that bothered me.

 

Lettering / Layout:

These guys know how to layout a page. There is good use of page space and the flow between panels is visually stimulating and befitting the scenes they are in. They had drawn in onomatopoeia, which I like (when the typesetter does it it always looks forced and out of place) and didn’t just do standard page divisions.

 

Writing / Story:

There is some good dialogue here and there. None of the normal nit-picky things. I’m personally not as big of a fan of the pacing. The intro picks up steam but then the next scene kind of drags on bit a bit without a solid connection to the intro. It wraps itself up nicely at the second act but until it gets there it feels rather slow. I suppose it’s meant to be there to give us some characterization for the protagonist, which it does well but I felt it kind of dawdled there. The end feels a little rushed pacing wise but sets up for a good continuing series. This is a comic I wish I had the 2nd issue of because it kind of feels like I have half of a story. It kind of introduces the characters and sets the stage but the plot doesn’t really go anywhere until the last 5 pages or so.

 

Overall:

Art is 1st rate, story suffers from “first issue” syndrome, but it’s saved by a very cool premise.  John Wagner and Alan Grant are the minds behind this (Judge Dredd) and their skill as writers show. They have a real solid grasp of the mechanics of the crafts and I’d like to have seen how the first narrative arc played out before I really give any criticism to the pacing of the comic (again- I only do first issues so I see this a lot and get it). Aliens, soccer, piss-drunk celebrities- it’s going to be a wild ride. Give it a read.

 

Metrics:

Art: 8/10 [Professional]

Lettering: 7/10 [Professional and makes creative use of some elements.]

Plot: 6/10 [Good dialogue, has “First Issue Syndrome” when it comes to pacing]

Novelty: 8/10 [Aliens, soccer, and piss-drunk celebrities. Need I say more?]

Overall: 7.25/10

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Bram the Yacoi

Bram the Yacoi

Staff: Jose Pallares and Muguel Caceres

 

Overview:

So today we have some straight up barbarian porn (like… schlocky barbarian stuff, not actual porn) from Jose Pallares and Muguel Caceres in the form of “Bram the Yacoi”. This part is subtitled “The Last Eden”. This is the first issue (as I only do first issues) and it kind of stood out from the cesspool of “gritty, dark, horror comics” I keep getting (hence why there hasn’t be a review in a bit) so I’m going to give it a shot. Let’s see how it pans out.
Note: This comic is not PG-13. Probably a decent R (lots of blood, little nudity, etc). Nothing you wouldn’t see on late night TV though.

Art:

The art is nothing shy of awesome. Miguel, the artist, uses a monochromatic (black, white, and a single color) color scheme to great effect. Even on the first page of the comic we have a fantastic display of his ability to convey motion and create dynamic poses as well as establish a good use of panel structure for artist purposes. And the detail this guy puts into stuff! Hot damn! There is also the matter of him giving very distinctive character designs. In the midst of a brawl, I can tell characters apart thanks to his very easily identifiable character designs. That is to say, no two characters look the same, even at a distance. And that’s a very hard thing to do with people who you want to visually share similar elements (like a culture, team, or other group). Still, he manages to pull it off.

 

Writing / Story:

Jose’s writing matches Miguel’s art in tone. The narration panels are very poetic, dramatic, and grandiose while the choice of dialogue is much more guttural and concise. It reads like a good Hyborian adventure comic (Conan the Barbarian and borrows more than a little from it. It borrows a lot from it, maybe more than it should. Bram might as well be Conan and is largely interchangeable with any number of generic barbarians. I didn’t get a lot of characterization from him other than “is really good at fighting” and “will take revenge”. He uses the plot to give us set pieces however and that’s not a terrible way to use it. That having been said… Jose does a fantastic job of capturing that tone/style of character and I really enjoyed it. He is one of the few writers who I’ve run across whose mastery of languages improves upon the narrative rather than hinders it. In fact, the plot is largely pretty generic and ignorable (guy betrays guy, guy gets revenge) but his dialogue is so good you kind of don’t notice.

 

Layout:

As I mentioned in the art section of this book, Miguel uses the panel layout to his advantage artistically. He lets things protrude from them, chances the shape of overlay panels to accentuate the action. That is the hallmark of real skill and a creative use of them that helps create a cohesive aesthetic. There are a few times where this works against it however (see page 5 of the PDF) when artistic liberties with the panel placement makes it a little difficult to tell what action is happening first (but it looks quite sexy…).

 

Overall:

So I’m a sucker for 80s pulpy stuff (as you guys know). This comic scratches that itch in a big way. It is pulpy, schlocky, barbarian-flavored wonderfulness. The dialogue is great but the protagonist’s characterization and overall plot leave something to be desired. That being said- it is backed up by one of the best indy artist’s I’ve reviewed- a guy who GETS what it means to establish and maintain a cohesive aesthetic. So my verdict? If conan style stuff is your bag- buy it even if it costs you the blood from your arm to do so. If not, it is still something you should pick up for the fun it brings and the art (seriously- I would love an artbook of Miguel’s work).

 

Metrics:

Art: 9/10 [Marvel, DC- eat your hearts out]

Lettering/Layout: 8/10 [Creative use of layout]

Plot: 8/10 [Set piece driven plot but outstanding use of language]

Novelty: 5/10 [It’s schlock Conan stuff. Does just enough new to avoid  being stale]

Overall: 7.5/10

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Little Black Girl (Mature)

12804830_1059802127414722_4453787998125208531_nLittle Black Girl

Staff: James McCulloch, Pedro Mendes

Overview:

So today I’m gonna look at Little Black Girl. Full disclosure- I’ve worked with the artist Pedro Mendes on one of my own comics (Good Samaritans Issue #2) and I heard about the comic through him. I have an advanced copy so the link at the bottom of this review will be to their Facebook page. My copy also has a missing cover, so I won’t be talking about that. The comic warns it is for mature readers so- yeah, keep that in mind. Anyway, let’s take a look at Little Black Girl by ComicHaus!

Art:

So, as I’ve mentioned before- I’m a little biased on the artwork. I hired Pedro so take what I say with a grain of salt. He has a very noir, crosshatch heavy style, with an emphasis on shadows. Sometimes his proportions slip a bit but he makes up for it with his use of angles. He always adds nice little elements to the background and does excellent work overall. Give him a few years more practice and he’ll be professional grade, particularly if he works on his perspective a bit more. His shadow-heavy style matches the comic’s tone excellently and he has a mastery of dynamic motion that I envy. While not Marvel or DC level- it is an asset to the comic rather than a detriment.

Layout:

I will only touch briefly on the lettering. It’s solid and that’s how it needs to be. Nothing stands out as amazingly unique but it’s legible and, for comics, that is high praise. Those people who try to reinvent the wheel with lettering fail 9/10 times. While comics are both a visual and literary medium, lettering needs to allow the words to be unobtrusive while still conveying the necessary message. This comic does just that. Kudos.

Writing / Story:

The story is a bit shocking. It is definitely for a mature audience. Without spoiling anything it’s about a businessman by day who comes home to a house full of slaves he abuses. He is, unapologetically, a monster. Unfortunately, you can see him as human but… damn. He is a piece of trash. There are a lot of subjects in here that the average reader will not be comfortable with (child abuse, implied rape, slavery, use of some very triggering words) and I’m not normally one to endorse the use of these themes… but in this case it is acceptable as it goes towards making the antagonist more monstrous. If any of the stuff I mentioned triggers you- don’t read this comic. Stay the heck away. However, it DOES set a rather profoundly disturbing psychological stage. I got the personalities of a lot of the characters (the slaves mostly) and, for a first issue, that’s really what I want. A good setup, good characterization, an establishment of motives, etc.

Overall:

In summary- this is DEFINITELY a mature comic. But, unlike some others I have reviewed, it uses the mature rating to DO something- to tell a very raw and gritty story in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed. The main antagonist is the lowest slime on the planet- a junk yard dog so deranged he NEEDS to be put down. I just wish I reviewed the entire series so I could see him get what he is owed. However, as mentioned before, this comic has LOTS of triggers. Rape, child abuse, slavery, racial slurs galore, torture, violence towards women, etc. If these things do bother you- avoid this comic. However, I am going to recommend it for the writing and art. It goes to a dark place but does so for a reason. Give it a read when it comes out in July!

Metrics:

Art: 6/10 [Better than average]

Lettering/Layout: 6/10 [Does it’s job well]

Plot: 5/10 [Antagonist is a monster- shown by use of ]

Novelty: 5/10 [Owns its mature rating in shocking ways]

Overall: 5.5/10

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RoboCatz vs ThunderDogs

RoboCatz vs ThunderDogsRoboCatz vs ThunderDogs

Staff: Justin “Spanky” Cermak, Donovan Goertzen, Fabian Cobos

Overview:

Crazy fun premise, good art, but painful dialogue.

Review:

So today I have before me “RoboCatz vs Thunder Dogs”. With a name like that- how the hell could I possibly turn it down? I mean it’s got explosion and a robot battle cat fighting a dog with guns on it’s shoulders. No way I’m missing this party.

Art:

Let’s talk art. So overall it’s competently done. It properly uses dynamic posing, has an understanding of how to draw a form in perspective (maintains proportions), has good framing and image composition, and the color pallet is professionally done. I really like some of the posing on the comic and angles the artist chose- it shows a real dedication to this comic and a love for it. I really dug the art. The style is rather cartoony and it fits with the kind of “out there” premise of this comic. I’ll note here that my promotional copy has a little bit of artifacting from compression but even if they have it in the final it’s not bad.

Layout:

Like I’ve said in previous reviews- if it’s unobtrusive and has no issues then it’s really good lettering. There is an instance on page 9 where there is a dialogue balloon almost entirely covered by another one. And, like you might have guessed, the lettering is on point. I also didn’t notice any major issues with layout either but no great risks were taken. I do like the inclusion of a particularly detailed map at one point as well.

Writing / Story:

The main premise is that dogs and cats have been fighting since the dawn of time and are fated to do so. What starts out as “oh ha-ha, a cat and dog fighting each other- look they even indicated saber tooth tigers and wolves fought” quickly turns into battle dogs with shells and cats with conical hats and spears fighting each other. I was about to write a line about “I don’t think there was much overlap between dire tigers and…” but then I realized that this is a total party comic where they kind of throw logic out the window in favor of bulldogs with giant spiny shells fighting cat warriors. Yep- it’s THAT kind of comic and I love it. Eventually this conflict results in cat vs dog mecha gladiator tournaments and it’s as awesome as that sounds. So while the premise is totally bonkers I have a feeling that it’s geared for, perhaps, a younger audience than me. I could be wrong because I was taken in too.

Let’s talk dialogue however. it is downright PAINFUL to read. he humor, or attempt at it, is rather juvenile and relies mostly on cat and dog puns. I can’t say I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s not really all that engaging. I’ve always had issues with comedy comics- they really fall flat far too often and this one doesn’t break the mold in that respect. This comic takes EVER dog and cat pun or joke out there and parades it around like it’s a lab with a big stick and NONE of them work. I would give you guys some examples but I can’t bring myself to type them out.

Pacing wise it is very competent. It sets up the premise, it establishes the characters, it gives us some highs, it shows our heroes at their worst, then gives us a clever little climax. It’s basically “the brave little corgi that could” but with giant mecha… and that’s kind cool.

Overall:

So this is a hard one. The premise is insane and fun, the art is good, the lettering is on point, the pacing and premise were well done, but the dialogue is painfully bad. Ultimately… I’d say give it a read. Just kind of accept the terrible puns and (for the most part just ignore the dialogue actually) and it’s a damn good comic.

PS: The corgi sitting with his head on my lap for the majority of this review in no way influenced my review of this comic.

Metrics:

Art: 6/10 [Better than average]

Lettering/Layout: 6/10 [Does it’s job well]

Plot: 4/10 [Decent pacing and premise but terrible dialogue]

Novelty: 8/10 [… it’s “RoboCatz vs Thunder Dogs”]

Overall: 6/10

Link to Kickstarter

(Please note that the link above goes to their Kickstarter for this comic. It will be replaced by a link to their sales venue when it goes on sale.)

Edison Thomas Saves the World

123477-thumb140Edison Thomas Saves the World

Staff: Kevin Hill

Overview:

A fun, if not flawed, pulpy super-genius comic.

Review:

Today I have “Edison Thomas Saves the World” from Hyperactive Comics. It’s presented as a one-shot comic about a 19 year old super genius battling a inter-dimensional being. Without saying any more about it, let’s jump in!

Art:

So this is actually done by a trained hand… I think. It’s definitely not high enough quality to call it “professional” but you are not left visually guessing at what’s going on. It really harkens back to the old pulp style comics that were popular in the golden and silver age and I love it. Very clean lines, thick strokes, etc. There are the occasionally poorly drawn panel, facial expression, or the like but on the whole it’s decent.

Now there are some serious technical issues that a little experience will fix. For example, a lot of this looks scanned in or drawn by hand. When you have something like that in a digital format, you need to clean it up. For example, if on page 3 of the PDF you look at the bottom right panel you can see the strokes from where it was filled in. This can be easily fixed by doing something like selecting black’s color range in a program like Photoshop, then doing an auto-fill to replace it with digital black (same can be done for white too).

Layout:

In addition to that this comic suffers from a lack of professional layout standards. For example- the edges of the bounding boxes of each panel doesn’t quite line-up with each other. If you are going to offset panels- do it for a reason. This is just sloppy work that something like a ruler could have fixed.

The dialogue balloons are passable, if not a little cramped at time (never let your text touch the edges). Text within dialogue balloons should be done in a vaguely “diamond” shape so it best fits in the shape of the balloon. They remember to do that on occasion but just as often seem to forget and cram words into the balloons.

There are also a few odd capitalization errors (example: page 6 of the PDF has this line, “My Patented “Steel Jacket Restrainer” should keep him out of Trouble!!”) as well as some grammar errors (“one of his arch nemesis…” should be “one of his arch nemeses” for example).

Now one thing I want to talk about are the onomonopias. They are a mess. So, in comics, an onomatopoeia is unbounded text which is rendered in such a way that it is reflective of the sound being made (having a burning noise illustrated as if it were burning, having a “pew pew” of a laser gun look scifi, etc). It should be drawn into the comic by the artist (inker) rather than added in later by the person doing the layout. They can use the shape of the words to indicate the kind of sound, it’s direction, and where it is originating from. We get some REALLY poorly done ones in this comic (like the “Balooey!!” on page 1). They are able to produce a good one later on (page 16 of the PDF) so it confuses me why they are so poor at other times.

Writing / Story:

The dialogue is stilted. My frequent readers will note that I have a special, soft, spot for campy or pulpy comics but this doesn’t fall into that category. It’s just bad. They lay out the plot in dialogue- a major sin in comics. Remember- comics are both a visual and literary medium. You can use one or the other as a substitute for its counterpart. When a hero punches out the villain you don’t need him to say, “Wow! I knocked him out with one punch!” at the same time as showing it and that’s exactly what this comic does. It’s just panels of expository dialogue explaining what is going on in the panel.

The plot itself serves to set up Edison Thomas and his supporting cast. The first part of the comic does a good job establishing the rules of his universe. Shakespeare this is not, but it tells a coherent story and as a one-shot whose goal was to establish the character for use in a larger cross-over initiative it does it’s job. Edison Thomas (not to be confused with Thomas Edison or anything) fits snuggly into the super-genius archetype ala Reed Richards, Dr. Quest, Hank Pym, etc and has a gadget for everything.

The second part is more concerned with dimensional obliteration. They do a fun bit with an alien world and their culture. I will say that they do some pretty big logic leaps and treat Edison’s intelligence as something of a omni-solution, pushing him awfully close to Gary Stu territory. See, the danger with that is that one could fall into the “a wizard did it”/ ”techno-jargon” kind of story telling. The reason we like to read “smart” characters (like Holmes) is because we get inside their heads and at the end they reveal how it was done. Without that pay off, the protagonist might as well have just said “abracadabra” and the problem was resolved. Like we are never told what a “buffer zone field” was and why it resulted in an “impenetrable sphere of solidified matter” or even what the enemy’s power really was (other than that it “drew power from the atmosphere”).

The second part is far better than the first- really telling a very “big” story in just 20ish pages, even if the story is told with just the broad strokes. To be honest- I kind of liked how it was told. If we got too much into the details it might have bogged it down. There were some parts I wished they’d explained a bit more (as mentioned above) but overall it worked.

Overall:

Ultimately… if this wasn’t free I wouldn’t recommend it. However, as a free little comic, you could do worse. It gives you a big story in a small bite. It’s not going to change the world but it’s got heart if nothing else. Give it a read if pulpy super-genius stuff is your thing.

Post Review Note: So I noticed after I had finished this review that I had already reviewed something from Hyperactive Comics (Crunch) and it’s actually set in the same universe. I normally don’t review stuff from the same publisher but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Sorry about that!

Metrics:

Art: 4/10 [Not pro but you can get by with it]

Lettering/Layout: 3/10 [Some issues, but nothing that makes it unreadable]

Plot: 4/10 [Interesting enough for a one-shot]

Novelty: 3/10 [It’s all been done before]

Overall: 3.5/10

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Fruition of the Damned

tumblr_nybwh42WuB1tqzzc4o1_1280Fruition of the Damned

Staff: Keenan Carola, Jeremy MacKinnon, Nick Azevedo

Overview:

Visually competent and only misses the mark by a bit.

Review:

So today I’m reviewing a style of comic I don’t normally review. I’m taking at look at Fruition of the Damned- an online scroll comic. You can check it out here and kinda read along with me. As always, I am reading the first “issue” (called “Book 1”) and won’t be touching on stuff post that.

Layout:

Let’s talk layout first. Being a new layout for a comic reviewed on this site, I should clarify what it is. It’s essentially a long image (or series of images) that kind of scroll down an overlong page. It’s used pretty effectively here and, I’ve read a few others, this one kind of stands out as one of the better laid out ones. They kind of work best for mobile readers, but the long load time due to loading a lot of image data always kind of killed it for me on my phone. I read it on my PC for that reason and the one thing that kind of bothers me is that the panels / individual images don’t have their edges line up perfectly. Some have a white background / trim /stroke while others have no background (transparent) or black. Even then, while it DOES do some cool things with it- I could still see this working as a normal comic so I won’t knock it for using this layout format and, while cool, it won’t be getting any major bonus points from me.

Art:

One thing I do like about this is the visual world building aspects of it. We have weird birds, very original races, technology, some cool fauna, and the like. All and all it creates a very cohesive world- which is a nice touch for this comic. Honestly, this comic would have got a much lower rating if it were not for the cohesive and original art direction.

One thing that doesn’t do this comic any favors is the sheer space (I’d say pages but… you know) dedicated to fight scenes. They are fun and the scroll format is well utilized but I can’t help but feel like I’m watching filler in an anime rather than the meaty plot stuff. It DOES offer some rather aesthetically pleasing scenes and well laid out panels but comics straddle this line. They are a visual medium but, as they are a sequential style of art dedicated to conveying a story- I can’t help but feel like they focused too much on the visuals and really didn’t dedicate enough space to story. You are probably about 40-60% of the way though book 1 before you start really getting to any story elements. Now, almost at odds with that previous statement I WILL say that this comic does a great job doing visual storytelling (particularly later). This is when dialogue is either absent or superfluous to the visuals as they are conveying the story (though setting, character, and expression).

So let’s talk more technically art a bit here. It’s a very unique comic. I don’t know if this is the most polished or technically competent art that I’ve ever seen. However it is a very unique style and you quickly get use to any little quirk or issue for the sheer ambition of the style. There are some very unique almost one-point perspective panels and the use of monochromatics on a few panels are very effective (especially when they are used to convey a specific emotion). The technical issues I mentioned really come from some of the character drawings. Like there are little issues with proportions due to perspective and oversimplifications of characters in certain renderings. Again, it’s not a BIG concern but it doesn’t blow me away either. His backgrounds however are STUNNING. Just beautiful. The artist also has a very nice use of dynamic posing and can convey motion (even some of the more exotic moves) very well, knowing just where to break panels so that we still see the sequence without breaking the pacing and flow. So I guess the best description for this comic’s art is, “Ambitious, stylistic, imaginative, energetic, but not technically perfect”. Seriously though- give this guy like 5 years more and he’ll be drawing your next favorite series.

So, as I mentioned before this is a very competently established aesthetic. I love some of the character designs- even minor characters like background combatants have a very distinctive look to them that fits in with the overall artistic narrative. It definitely takes some Gendi Tartakovsky or Michael Dante DiMartino (Avatar) influence on their stuff and I couldn’t help but thinking that the Elf King could have been designed by like Ayami Kojima or something.

Writing / Story:

Plot wise, I am going to keep this kind of brief. I’m not interested in giving spoilers, but it’s pretty easy to see things coming. It’s a story of family, has some fairly stock characters, and has some war/combat elements to it. I am not going to judge it too harshly- it tells the story it wants to tell and does so competently. I have a feeling that this is pulling a bit of a Joss Whedon thing with the characters- the first bit of the narrative establishes the status quo and the remainder of the story is dedicated to their growth from that established narrative. The end hints at that. I won’t say this comic tries to tell a complex tale, it’s no Game of Thrones, but it’s a well told story.

Overall:

Overall, I have to ask myself “would I want to read the next one” and… honestly I think I would. It tells a tale I want to get into and it does so with broad, effective, compelling strokes. It’s got some good world building and I kind of want to see where it goes. It’s a pretty simple story but it’s got potential.

Metrics:

Art: 5/10 [Ambitious but lacking a polished technical touch]

Lettering/Layout: 4/10 [Does just fine. Some ups, some downs]

Plot: 3/10 [Competent but really just basic]

Novelty: 7/10 [I’ll give them points for trying something cool and new visually]

Overall: 4.75/10

Link to Product