Thursday, April 09, 2009

Zuda April Competition Reviews

Wow, it's been a long time since I did a Zuda review. And to be honest, I wasn't really planning on it this time (my comment about weekly reviews was about print comics) but since Ryan and Tim are looking forward to them... :)

In alphabetical order:
Cancer Troop 4 -- I thought this one was well done (though on a nitpicky note I thought the first few pages could have been a bit clearer as to what was going on). The art was unique, especially when it comes to the colour choices, and the characters were more interesting than I expected going in. And the pacing of the last few pages was excellent. But unfortunately, I just didn't feel there was anything in these first 8 pages that would make me want to vote for it. I'd like to see it continue just to see where it's going but that's not always enough to get the vote (especially when there are other books I really want to see more of).

Earthbuilders -- This is definitely a high quality book with solid writing and art. Perhaps if it wasn't constrained to 8 pages I would have liked the action to be a bit bigger (larger panels and a bit more pacing) but with more pages you have more room for storytelling. But unfortunately the story just didn't grab me, there just wasn't anything there I felt was "new". Perhaps if it were to continue and more of the story was flushed out I'd go for it but these 8 pages weren't enough for me.

Intergalactic Law: Grey Squad -- I actually had a hard time reading this one. There is some definite talent there but the story and pacing just seemed all over the place. It jumped ahead with no warning and we just kept getting snippets. The art was sort of hit or miss with me with some panels/characters seeming a little too sloppy for me. Even the talk balloons seemed a bit off at times either with too many or just drawn out kind of weirdly. It was pretty unique though and had a lot of potential. But unfortunately "potential" won't get my vote this month.

Mecha-Simian -- Maybe I just have Stephen Colbert on the brain for some reason but this one sort of reminded me of Tek Jansen in some ways. But that's neither here nor there. The art was pretty solid (though given time I think there's some room for improvement), good pacing, and there was enough story there to get the general idea across and engage the reader. I guess my only issue with this book was that the main character felt a little too "done before" with the only difference being this one is a monkey. But since we don't see any other good guys this doesn't feel too out there, I mean we also have robots and a talking ship already. So unfortunately I think this one falls just short for me.

Myth -- At first I thought this one was going to be a miss for me as the first few pages just didn't grab me but then the fifth page knocked me over. The art has a nice style to it and the writing is good. I generally skip the intro paragraph and go mostly by the 8 pages but in this case, the 8 pages left me slightly wanting and it was the intro paragraph that gave me a better idea of what to expect from this book. I think this is a bit of a negative on one hand (that the 8 pages just didn't feel like enough) but on the other hand, they were enough to make me check out the intro to see what it is that I just read. I could definitely see myself coming back to check this book out, especially if it keeps up this level of quality. And with more pages to work with I think it could really be good. So it remains on my short list of potential vote getters.

Pirate Eye -- I think the first thing that stood out for me on this book was the art and not necessarily in a good way. It's of a fairly high quality but too static. I just didn't feel any emotion or movement to the characters. Even a guy getting shot in the leg doesn't really seem to be reacting. And that scene could have been much more dynamic in its perspective. And I'm not sure if the writing really helped. Though the general idea seems like a decent one these 8 pages just didn't have any "oomph" to them, nothing that made me think "Wow!" It just felt like we were getting from point A to point B in a pretty straight line. So unfortunately I just don't think there's enough there for my vote.

Spy6teen -- Again, we have another high quality comic here. The art was great (though at times I thought the inking could have been a bit smoother) and the writing was well done with great pacing (combined with good layouts) and an interesting character. I'm already wanting to learn more about her backstory as well as see where things go from here. I really can't think of much in the negative category for this one. Perhaps I would have liked a bit more info about how/why a 16 year-old is a government spy but you could see that there was a story there and it's just something you'll have to wait to find out. And perhaps one could say we've seen similar stories to this but considering the high quality of these 8 pages again, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that once we get into the story it'll evolve into something different. This one is currently sitting as the favourite for my vote but I like to mull it over before I make my final decision. It really did get off to a great start.

The Daemon Brethren: Advent of Chaos -- You can tell that a lot of work went into this one, especially artistically, but I think it falters for me. First up, I think the brothers could have been a bit more distinct in their faces from each other. Some of the pages involving the action came across as a little confusing as to what was going on. Perhaps too much was just crammed into too little a space. And there were a few times where the art style seemed to differ so a bit more consistency in the art could be needed. Unfortunately, the story didn't really catch with me and when I read the intro paragraph I got even more confused. The story just didn't seem to flow and needed a bit more polish. That last page had me confused briefly as we move to Chicago suddenly and yet we have someone talking. It took a second before I realized that this was the conversation from the previous page continuing. I think that could have been executed better. So while there's some definite talent there, I just don't see myself following this book.

The Kind You Don't Bring Home to Mother -- Right off the bat I was pretty hooked into this story. It seemed pretty unique and the characters started to grow on me right away. The parents were great and I found myself chuckling at them the most. The art was solid and well laid out. The pacing was well done and the dialogue was great. Overall, I really don't have much negative to say about this one either. To be honest, after re-reading it for this review I think it's right up there beside Spy6teen. I'm not sure which one I will eventually go with and who knows, Myth might make a comeback over the weekend. :) I'm so indecisive, but at least it's a positive that there are a few books this month I'd like to see continue.

The Rise and Fall of the Penguin -- I think every book has an audience it reaches out to, I'm just not part of that audience for this book. I'd say I'm far from it. I didn't find it funny nor did the story really interest me at all. And the art really doesn't work for me either. I'm really not even sure there's much else I can say about it.

So that's it, I'm currently going back and forth between Spy6teen and The Kind You Don't Bring Home to Mother (which I think I'll call TKYDBHTM) with Myth still in the running.


Rich said...

Darrell - nice set of reviews there.

Sorry that Mecha isn't for you - I'm the writer - and believe me, there's more to him than meets the eye (not in a Transformers way...although...).

Even so, glad you liked the art - I really think Greg and Lisa knocked it out of the park!

Tim "Citizentim" Simmons said...

Awesome set of reviews, Darrell! And thank you for the kind words on Spy6teen!

I do plan to weave in the narrative of Cally's origin if we're lucky enough to continue of my nitpicky critiques of Zuda's I've read in the past is that they "kitchen sink" the origin in the first 8 pages. It reads less like a comic and more like an info pamphlet about the world and "rules" of the comic.

I just wanted to let everyone have a little fun-- we'll have time to get into those inner workings a few screens down the line!

cuervoscuro said...

Thanks for the review, we really appreciate the feedback!.

Darrell said...

Thanks to you guys for taking the time to read my reviews. I appreciate that Zuda creators really take the time to interact with their fanbase. And I have to say that I've found most creators to have a very positive attitude despite sometimes getting a not-so-favourable review.

And Tim, I do agree that some Zuda competitors haven't worked the 8 pages as well as they could. I really did think Spy6teen (and others this month) did a good job of telling a story in those 8 pages while giving us teases for what's to come in terms of an origin or an ongoing story.