Friday, November 30, 2012

Not So Wild Review Special: Blade Kitten

NOTE:  Sorry kids, looks like the damn thing didn't publish on time.  Should have checked it yesterday and forgot.  Sorry.

I don't do this.  Normally, when I find a new comic and am set to review it, I'll put it aside and locate at least 4 more comics to review at once.  These five would be the newest addition to the Wild Webcomic Review.  Not So Wild Reviews follow later, typically in the order in which I originally reviewed the comic, assuming I'm still reading it.  This is how I've done this since the beginning.  Today I make an exception for:


Before I begin, I also broke another general rule for reading comics because of how I found it.  I found this comic via the Let's Play Archive, and a Let's Play of the game that's based on the comic.  This game was the final nail in the coffin for a major game development studio.  The comic is done by one of the company's founders and creative director.  Watching the LP, I am stunned at how well the game seems to function from a mechanical perspective.  From everything else, I can see why it bombed.  It also meant I HAD to see the comic, I had to read it.  As such, I started this comic with background information I normally wouldn't have had in a dry archive run.  This may or may not color some of my comments.  Let's get on with this.


This is a manga/anime style comic, but not quite as good as it should be.  It's not awful, but I've seen much better comics using this kind of art style.  The issue, I think, is that it leans far too hard on the anime tropes, including, but not limited to, girls in impractical clothing and cat girls.  Specifically the main character who is very much a cat girl, with pink hair and everything.  There's also a trend that rarely does a panel pass without some kind of dialog block interfering.  To be fair, even Errant Story's early strips suffered from this, too much script going in, so this isn't a stumbling block, but it is a sure sign that he's not confident the art can tell the story.  And we'll get to the story later.  It's at least competent, not god awful, but I don't think the overall style and point of the comic is very good.


Oh these characters.  The main character is a cat girl, named Kit.  Most of the names are awful.  Alamo, Justice, Kaiser, Gattling etc are some of the WORSE "creative" names I've seen.  And these aren't pets, oh no, these are actual people.  If these were nick names, or code names or something, I might stand them, but no, these are their proper names.  Names aside, that's about all these characters have.  Most are one note personalities, even if they have "a dark past" or some other emotional trauma.  Kit is especially bad as she wisecracks unnecessarily, slips into badass mode at the drop of hat, then goes all teary eyed later.  I've seen characters with LESS character become something greater, so I suppose that with time all of them can get better, but at the moment they're just glorified tropes running around with cat ears.  The worse part?  Dialog dumps worth of character backstory.  Yeah, way to make me care.


Disjointed.  Incomplete.  I've read comics before where it felt like it was missing whole strips.  I never felt that in Blade Kitten, instead I felt I was missing entire PLOTLINES.  I don't mind mystery in my comics, and there are a couple moments throughout that actually almost worked.  But the mystery here was how vaugue could the artist be for any given story point.  We aren't given any reference points for things.  Alamo, at one point, turns out to be a robot, but there is never any HINT at what was going on, nothing odd to question her nature.  Why?  Because there's no time to learn anything.  She's maybe in a total of 6 pages before ANYTHING is questioned, and it has to be forced because when the non-robot version is revealed, there's no connection there.  Other times the overly dense strips feel like they could have told so much more if they were stretched to 3 or 4 pages.  In the end little is learned about the world, little is shown about the characters and their backstory (shown, not TOLD), and there's no investment in the story as a whole because the mystery and suspense of the tale is drown out by poor pacing and the fact that it feels more like the Cliff notes version of a comic.


I will forever hold that the worst comic I've ever read is the old EarthBeta (which you can't see any more, praise on to any deity that did that), so no, this isn't the worst comic ever.  It is, however, by no means good.  The art direction is annoying, the characters are one note or so trope filled as to topple over under their own "weight" and it almost feels like the artist is speeding through a story rather than building one.  The sad part?  That game, the one that destroyed the game studio?  It's built the same way.  The story in the game is disjointed and rushed, the characters are one note at best, and the art direction is actually about the same.  It's also canon with the rest of the comic, so there are events that don't make sense without the game, and vice versa.

This is a bad comic.  The only reason to even read it is to complete the understanding of the game and what happened after it.  That said, it is doing something a lot of comics can't do.  Yeah, that's right, it still updates.  Looks like about once a week.  It might get better one day, but I kind of doubt it.

This comic will NOT go on the official list because, well, I broke every rule with it.  Hopefully I'll get another batch of reviews up before the end of the year, or at least for the start of next year.  No promises though.  Until next time kiddies.

No comments:

Post a Comment