Friday, August 30, 2013

Wild Webcomic RE-Review #1

I currently have 245 comics on my list.  Of those only a 23 actually appear on my Non-Read list.  Does it mean these comics are bad?  Well, sometimes.  Still, I'm not one for just letting things go, so as a service not just to me, but these comics, I'll give them another shot and see if they've improved enough to be moved to the read list, and it has happened.  The World Explodes, now sadly inaccessible (aside from one awful strip), turned into something so much more when I re-reviewed it, and I love finding that.

Of course, this first time I'm going to cheat a bit.  One of these comics was never really ON my Non-Read list, one I've been intending to re-review for some time, and only the third actually fits here, but then I like to do things like that.  So without further adieu, the Wild Webcomic RE-Review:

89.  Gun Street Girl

Original Review - No, your eyes don't deceive you, this comic is on the same site as No Stereotypes, but this is completely, totally different. There are guns and violence, magic and mystery, and another pair of lesbians. Shit, did it again. Well fuck, if you're going to wonder off every time I say that word, I'll just sing a little. Or not. This isn't a strip, and there are no long story arcs, just short little pieces written more like mini-comic books than anything else. So don't let the style turn you off, or you'll miss the fun.

RE-Review - It's funny how I always think of this as one of my earliest reviews, where the next comic is going to be much earlier.  Still, I have fond memories of finding it, and it is one of the few strips that I actively missed reading.  Why wait to go back so long?  Not sure, because it is still as good as I remember.  This is the perfect definition of Urban Fantasy that I think I can find out there right now, but without it being some kind of epic fantasy piece.  All the stories are short, almost one off tales that do tie into each other a bit, but not nearly as much as it would be expected from this.  Though I haven't read it, I suspect fans of the Dresden Files would enjoy the hell out of this comic.

In short, it is the tale of Eddie, a low level mage, and Liz, his Gun or muscle, and the various small adventures they have trying to keep the supernatural in check in 1990's London.  I say small, and I mean it, I can't recall a single time when they dealt with anything big enough to threaten more than a couple dozen people at a time.  Hell, usually THEY'RE the ones in trouble.  The scale is actually quite refreshing, and the fact that each story is more or less self-contained means it doesn't matter that the comic doesn't start from the beginning of their relationship, but does show it growing despite that.  The only thing that bugs me whether the comic is still updating or not.  The artist and writer both have active twitter accounts of all things, and the artist has a big old side bar featuring Liz on that page, but I remember even when I was actively reading it, it only updated rarely.  I don't want to call it dead, but I'm afraid I may have to.  Still, as a warm up for the re-reviews, it was a nice to come back to this comic, and I will recommend it.

28.  Commander Kitty

Original Review - After the headache of Small World, I needed something funny. And Commander Kitty was there! This is a funny strip, there are no buts about it. Every page has at least one joke, if not more, and the bulk of them will drop you to the floor in laughter. The only strip I know of that beats it consistently is 8-Bit Theater, and that's only because 8-Bit has been around longer. If you read any of this batch, read this one, you won't be disappointed.

RE-Review - This is not the same comic I reviewed back then.  I mean, the original Commander Kitty is gone, the comic I read in 2003 isn't even in the archives of this comic.  The reason is pretty clear on the first page of the current archive:  He didn't want it to get confusing with the new version, a reboot of Commander Kitty.  The only thing I really have to compare it to is my own memory then, and what I remember of the original CK was a comic that was both funny, but disjointed and confusing.  Random is a good word, lack of a direction is a great phrase, and while it made the jokes funnier, it didn't help the comic long term.

The current version though, that's a whole different story.  Comparatively, it's a tight story, with a solid direction and movement.  There are a few new characters, but the original core cast is still there, still has their own issues, and play off each other rather well.  It's not the greatest comic ever, but it's actually quite good, and I was surprised how much I was enjoying it despite not having contact with it in several years.  At some point, I would like to see the old CK again, just for comparison sake, but I think I won't find the old comic as good now thanks to the current version.  The update schedule for CK is kind of wonky right now so it'll go in the Monthly list, but it's still worth reading.

201.  Supermassive Black Hole A*

Original Review - This is not a webcomic. Then what is it doing here? Well, it presents itself (and advertises itself) as a webcomic, but it isn't, it's an animation series. Yes, it has a "webcomic" version, which is just stills from the animation, but like Lizzy, at best it can only give you an overview of the story. Without watching the videos, much of the action is flat and uninteresting. The fact that the art is heavy black and white, getting any sense of action from the stills is difficult at best. It does get better (the still version) but it's still just not quite right. So is it any good? Well, I think the story isn't too bad, but again, half the action is in the animations, and due to issues on my end, I didn't get to watch more than a few minutes of the first one, so I can't say for sure. Due to this nature, though, I'm not going to be following it.

RE-Review - Alright, I'm taking a back the "not a webcomic" statement.  This was actually completely true for the first 7 episodes of the comic. After that, there aren't any videos any more, so it is a proper webcomic now.  I still haven't sat down and watch more than one video because I'm both lazy and a comic reviewer, not a video reviewer, so I won't comment on the quality of the work in that aspect.  In any case, in re-reading it, I can declare that it's better than I remember, but not that much better.

I will say that this has some of the best science fiction (yeah, fiction) that I've seen in a long time.  It really takes the given technology and explores the implications of using it quite well.  It also ends up being quite good at world building and I'm rather intrigued by the universe built for it and almost want to see the final result.  One issue is the main character, or the current one that is.  There are two, the original one, Vero, was actually an interesting character.  A good guy at heart, smart, but not too smart, and he often screwed up more than he succeeded in his goals, a very human character and I found myself rooting for him after a while.  The problem is he was replaced, by Selenis after episode 10.  I don't like her.  On one hand, she is, technically, a villain, so I guess not liking her is the point, but I can deal with that, but as a character I find her uninteresting.  She's harder to relate to than Vero, mostly because of the interesting tech thing going on, but also because she always seems on top of what she's doing, too talented and skilled, almost to a fault.  It grates me wrong I guess.  I could overlook it though, if it weren't for the real problem.

I will say now, the art is actually quite good for a monotone style, and the character designs generally work rather well.  However, the updates come one panel at a time.  I've talked about Pacing before, and this comic has a weird issue with it.  It's both fast, each strip is a quick read, and slow, you need multiple strips to play out a scene, at the same time.  Simple sequences, like a conversation, happen over the course of a week, with one side talking one day, and the other the next.  This makes an archive dive a long, drawn out process.  The most recent chapter has 130+ panels.  No, not strips, these are individual panels, and to read each one it's one click at a time.  This is really annoying when very little, if anything happens in a panel, with the worse moment coming when the panel was just BLACK because of a power outage in the sequence.  It's like reading a book and every page having one sentence on it, it gets old quick.  For a comic like this, I really can't see myself reading it day after day to keep up with the single panel updates, or reading it weekly and cycling back five strips to see what I missed.  In short, I find the comic kind of a hassle to read with a character I don't really enjoy following, despite having an interesting premise and some well thought out ideas and decent art.  As such, despite it being better than what I remember, I still won't be following it.  Just not worth it to me.

And that's it for this round.  When will I dive into another group of RE-reviews?  No idea, but I'll see what comes up.  Until next time kiddies.

No comments:

Post a Comment