I feel like doing more themed reviews, so I'm back again.
Getting a review is great. It's helpful if you want feedback and it can be a good way to get a smidge of free publicity.
This thread focuses on the latter. Here's what I'll do:
1) Take an even number of requests.
2) Read all comics start to finish.
3) Pair up comics I feel have something in common and that might appeal to each others' creators in some way.
4) Briefly review both comics and what common ground they seem to share (with as few spoilers as possible).
5) This step is your job, readers--check out the comic you got paired with for yourself! Now, obviously I can't guarantee my assumptions about what you'll like will be correct, but even if you don't like each others' comics...hey, you still got a free review out of the deal.
Since this thread is half review/half cross-promotion, I'm also gonna ask that comics with red letter tags exercise discretion in asking for a review spot. I won't reject them by default, but if your comic has a lot of rated R material or is otherwise NSFW and none of the others are, it'll make it harder to pair up.
If you have multiple comics, please specify which one you're requesting a review for.
Alright, time for the first set of introductions. Secras, meet Angel Down. Of the six comics I'm working with in this round, you two were the easiest to pair.
Let's start in alphabetical order. Angel Down, you're first!
This is an action/urban fantasy comic about a cop who had a supernatural encounter during a near-death experience. Now gifted with the blessing of an archangel, our protagonist, Ariel, must join a secret organization in order to tap into her newfound powers as a chosen Paladin. The comic is still somewhat early into the story and so far is building up the world and the lore that governs it while also demonstrating that even as a novice to the supernatural, Ariel is no weakling or coward. Even her recruiter recognizes that her police experience makes her a promising trainee, and with how aggressively the enemy is trying to chase her down, her supernatural potential is bound to be something remarkable, too.
Now, over to Secras.
This comic is further along in its story, and it takes place in a more conventional fantasy world, the main location thus far being a small oceanside village at the edge of the dunes. Here, our protagonist Nagi, a good-natured traveler, takes up the cause of the villager who tremble under a cloud of dread and grief for their missing loved ones. With the help of a more adept magic user, Nagi must solve the mystery of where the missing people have gone, as well as whose voice is speaking to him beyond the veil of his dreams, and what the voice's incomprehensible words could possibly mean for him. Even if he manages to save the village, could there be even darker plots afoot?
These comics are distinct in tone and setting, but I still see some shared themes you guys might appreciate in each others' work. On a surface level, both comics use furry characters as part of the art style and they both have a good bit of action and danger. On a bit deeper level, while Angel Down is overall more serious and Secras a bit more inclined to use comic relief, both have shared themes of deep magical lore, being chosen by powerful beings to serve a higher purpose, and dark, demonic conspiracies. Both protagonists have a more experienced person to guide them through their first missions, while still being able to hold their own at critical times.
There is now a new opening for somebody to claim a spot for review. Take it while you can!
Here's the situation. After some consideration, I've decided to approach Theater of the Bloody Tongue differently. I've discussed this with Stilldown in PMs already. Unfortunately, I feel like the content of this webcomic is too far into NSFW territory to pair with another comic in the current lineup. So instead, Stilldown has kindly accepted an alternate approach. I'm going to provide a more traditional review and encourage those of you who don't mind some nudity and have a taste for the gothic to give it a go--especially now, in the month of the Spooktober.
And ohh boy, let's begin with the art. Black and white is the primary aesthetic, with vivid blooms of color, red in particular, added to the mix in later pages. The inking appears to be done by hand, high in contrast and full of greyscale textures that lend a smoky appeal to the pages.
And if you like pinups, there are a lot of pinup-style frames of our intrepid main character, Ariane, an actress and dimension-hopping witch with a ready wisecrack for every occasion. If I had to describe her, I'd say she's a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Morticia with the sheer wicked audacity cranked up to 11. As the title would suggest, there's something of a stageplay theme woven throughout the comic, which I find personally gives it a meta twist. Although the comic isn't directly breaking the fourth wall, it sort of plays around with the essence of what acting is as Ariane slips into different roles, sometimes on the stage and sometimes for the purpose of a little subterfuge.
The actual presentation of the comic is something like a hybrid of regular comic format and graphic prose. Many pages consist of a few key panels accompanied by Ariane's internal dialog. Her style of speech is quite unique. She has a tendency to play cutely with her phrasing that lends a breezy irreverence to the narration, fitting to her totally unfiltered manner of expressing herself, which sometimes draws ire from the crowd.
The irony that I requested to handle this comic differently because of NSFW content is not lost of me, by the way.
Theater has a different sense of pacing from most other comics, too. In the early pages, it's episodic to some degree, but the story has more of a "flow" than a chapter-by-chapter presentation. In the first pages, it's a stream of Ariane dancing from one stint of trouble to the next (with or without the involvement of a certain eldritch god), finding ways to come out on top via some unconventional or occultic means, with the help of some friends and acquaintances. As the comic goes on, she finds herself in a mission with her troupe and some allies to put a nasty circle of neo Nazis in their places, all done with her signature style and devilish grace. Overall, what we have here is some occult gothic fun with a big splash of different genre fiction homages and sendups.
Let's begin with I.W.A.T.S.V. (I'm still not sure what the title means, though).
This is an action/superhero comic following the exploits of a team of teen supers known as Team Hades. A well-coordinated team despite their young age, the first mission we see them tackle is a bank robbery, where they come together to halt a band of thieves and secure the money...for themselves.
Did I say "superhero" earlier? I meant to say supervillain. Also, yes, that is admittedly a bit of a spoiler from me right off the bat, but it's revealed early on and knowing this information sets the tone for the rest of the comic. Suffice to say, it's not the only twist. Although there is plenty of action violence and subversive twists, the main core of the story is about family. Each character has some kind of family dynamic that had left them somehow twisted up inside, leading them to each other to form a family group of their own. Their team synergy and deep concern for each other really shines, especially compared to some of the superheroes they fight, who, despite their purported status as heroes, can be shockingly callous. And it's not just the reader who sees how well this team works. Unseen by them all, a mysterious super is watching, desperate for help and clinging to the hope that they might be able to save what he holds most dear.
And now, let's take a look at Katran.
Katran is an action/fantasy comic that mainly follows Nirrod, a boy living a comfortable life among his family and homeland. Nirrod is training under his grandfather to learn the ways of fire magic and has a talent for causing mischief with everyone he meets within his lively community. One detail of interest to me is the use of conlang. The setting has its own language, from which terms are sprinkled in here and there. The author does provide translations, but generally the unfamiliar terms are given in a context that makes it easy to understand the gist. It's a small detail, but one that I appreciate in particular, especially since it's hard to integrate conlang without alienating readers.
But back to the plot, in which invasion of Nirrod's home forces him and his family to flee (even as they fight back tooth and claw), separating Nirrod from all but his younger brother (the brains of the group, to be frank). Uncertain where to turn next, Nirrod and his brother seek out a safe haven to await their scattered family, but war is spreading and nowhere is truly safe. Meanwhile, from a careful distance, an escaped political prisoner follows the two, hoping they might be able to help each other out of the predicament they've found themselves in. And that's just one of the few allies the two encounter of their way. With the obstacles looming before them, they'll need all the friends they can find.
So what makes me think these comics have anything in common? Well, on the surface, they're both action comics with plenty of energetic fighting scenes that pull no punches (pun intended). They also both have a focus on younger characters fighting against a world that, for one reason or another, has forced them to turn to their peers for help, forming teams. Katran is different from I.W.A.T.S.V. in that the main character's family is a happy, close-knit bunch, but then again, despite the dysfunction, there are notable families in I.W.A.T.S.V. that have characters who care deeply for each other. Conversely, there are family dynamics in Katran that are very much the source of, well, everyone's problems.
The theme of a person dealing with a crisis turning to an unlikely source of help is also present in both comics, and, of course, both comics deal with fantastic powers and abilities used to, ah, varying degrees of success. And, as is common with both superherovillain and fantasy comics, there is always a bigger picture that the main characters have yet to see, but are bound to confront if they have any hope of achieving their goals and protecting their loved ones.
Phoenix In Crisis:Also, the meaning of IWATSV was title-dropped on page 20!
Derp. For some reason, my brain refused to make the connection between that page and the title.
Maybe you want to consider including the non-acronym'd version in your banner/comic avatar somewhere? "I Was a Teenage Supervillain" is pretty eye-catching, but the acronym is...less than informative. I'm guessing the acronym is there to prevent spoiling the first big reveal, but, like. That reveal is where I went "Okay, now I'm interested." Just a humble suggestion from a rank amateur.
I don't have any openings just yet, but hold tight. When I finish up this round, I'll see if I can get more people to submit requests. For now, I'll put you on the "if I do this again, you're in" list.