Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Banner from key.shadilyn.com.
DATE OF REVIEW: 9/18/08
Author: "Flora Li"
Other Works: "Some Untitled Ragnarok Comic"
Started: February 7, 2007
Number of Comics: 147
Voting: TWC And BCX
Incentive Updates: Weeklyish
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Real Life, Magic
Rating: G - Fun for the whole family. Apparently the author goes to great pains to make a certain wyvern not curse like a drunken sailor.
Notes: I have to admit, I love this author. Without even reading anything about her, her works, or the comic, the snarky self and character deification in the comics is just sarcastically entertaining to say the least. Not only that, but each time she writes a comment for a comic, it's a couple sentences. Something you might actually read. And it pertains to the comic! What a revolution!
Effort: Wow. That's impressive. Characters look nice, well done, and are easy to distinguish. Backgrounds are fantastic outside, though indoors gets the 'lazy gray' syndrome, which the author admits to. Another thing the author comments on is an inability to draw fight scenes. You'll get a couple good ones, but others indeed look static. Nothing big, the rest makes up for it.
General: Not only does this comic make good use of art skills, but it does a fantastic job with special effects. Blurs are great for making less-than-perfect backgrounds whole, and nothing feels out of place. The comic feels very natural and looks like the kind of art you would expect on a published work. I did note before that fight scenes occasionally look static, and once in a while people look to be photo-shopped in (maybe not far from the truth), but overall it looks fantastic.
Background: There are three dimensions. The happy one where things are cool, the evil one where people are up to no good for sure, and the human one. I would assume based on the looks of Zimbabwe, Georgia, early 1900s Germany, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the current social state of affairs in Korea and Vietnam that we're the evil realm, but it turns out that we're not. They're "Daemonikhans".
Complexity: The author can indeed confuse you at times. It's definitely clear they have the story planned out, but the execution can seem a little weird at times. Characters, however, appear to have some pretty well rounded personalities.
Continuity: No fillers. At all. I like that a lot, because I enjoy this story. One story arc, so it all goes with the flow.
Clarity: My one gripe is with Clarity. You flashback with absolutely no warning and no way to distinguish. I was only able to tell from comic comments!
Substructure: Yes. Very well done.
Draw: This story is immersive. I have to stumble through a lot of comics, and even 100 pages can seem like a lot then. I had no such problems here. It's like watching a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat (not really, not so much adrenaline here), or even more so reading a really good book. You want to see how it plays out. I was shocked to find I was at the end of the archives so quickly.
Overall: The author presents us with two shortcomings. The first should be obvious: there's clearly not much creativity when it comes to naming things. "Daemonikhans" are evil. The macguffin of the piece is The Key (perhaps even the key to the plot). There's just no way someone from their realm could be good. But I guess social stereotyping is a bit of a leap, and since it was in character and not proven yet (almost to the contrary, it seems, as one major character might be an "evil" Daemonikhan), and it's understandable for one character to generalize a race ignorantly. The second is clarity. Without warning, and with no way to distinguish them, there will be flashbacks. There will be a lot. Read the comic comments or you can get lost. All the same, a powerful showing from the author in story.
Update: Wednesday and Saturday. And according to page info (which does not lie), she doesn't miss a date. Nice.
Site Design: Site design is great. Gives you everything you need and more, easy to access, intuitive interface. Chatbox is an extra plus.
Comic Navigation: Not only does this have the standard first/previous/archive/next/latest, it is organized in the archives by PAGE NUMBER AND CHAPTER. Somewhere, the Gods of organization have smiled upon this kindred spirit.
Art: 5. From the get-go, I was disappointed that this author was making it so hard to complain. By the end, I was stunned by good effort, art, and update schedule. Very impressive. Work on placement and fight scenes, and watch out for lazy background syndrome: it's on the rise. However, the problems weren't enough to push you down to a four.
Story: 4. Story is somewhat hindered by the fact that it can skip without clarity. Characters also all seem to be not surprised by portals. Is it coinscience that everyone of relevance to another dimension lives in the same town and goes to the same school? I guess so. Otherwise, characters and story seem good.
Upkeep: 5. Fantastic is all I have to say. Dedication to updates, good organization, and a strong site make for happy fans.
Final Grade: 5. The 4 on the story just wasn't enough to bring it down. This comic deserves a fanbase, and I've never said that about any comic: if it was good in my book, it had a huge community of followers. I followed a link at random on TWC at slot 30. This was not expected.
I really wanted to hold off on giving something a 5 for quite some time. It's hard to get a reputation as a complainer if you praise someone, but upon reading this comic I was already feeling pressure to give it a 5. On top of that, once I filled out my own rubric, I found it also recommended a 5. Disappointing for me, good for you. For impressing me so much, I'm proud to award the author with my own poorly made QQ Award of Merit. Congrats.