It’s hard to be called upon to review webcomics; at least it’s hard for me. I’m an artist of words, not pen and paper. My thinking tends to be linear and straightforward, with simple likes and dislikes. Despite this, I’ll keep chugging along (at least until the people with the pitchforks and torches come back, anyway), giving you my slightly off the center reviews on the comics we’re called upon to fence with. Just remember what I’ve said, ok? After all, pitchfork marks are hard to get out of walls, and torches cost money!
For my comics, I chose 4: Action Ohio, Hannibal goes to Rome, The Mean Model, and Children of Bighand. It was strange, too, because two of them were ok and two of them made me cringe. Ahh, which ones are which? Therein lies the tale.
The first two comics, Action,Ohio and Hannibal Goes To Rome were a bit tough for me to review, honestly – namely because of their brevity. There wasn’t a lot to go on, and so my review will probably be shorter than normal. The art in both was good, as were the premises of the comics themselves. Being a fan of a show called Histeria! I enjoy it when historical items are presented from a humorous point of view. Given my choice between the two, I would pick Hannibal as having the superior art, and style. The stories in both seem to be good but to be honest, the lack of comics to look at leave you saying “Well, where’s the next one?” instead of having a wealth to look at and decide. One positive point, at least, was the fact that they seem to both be family friendly. It was refreshing to see two webcomics in which the people are actually engaging their minds to write something unique rather than either (a) re-hashing the same old ideas/plots or (b) throwing in sophomoric gutter humor because of the 1 or two people out there that still laugh at it and say “Cool…” Personally, Hannibal would be a re-read for me, as would Action, depending on where they go with the stories themselves. I give them both 2.5 stars, dead center in the ratings, in lieu of seeing what comes next. Rating:
Children of Bighand, I am guessing, is supposed to be some kind of sci-fi/”don’t hurt the animals” type comic. Based on the tried and true (and currently socially popular) “the military is evil” mindset, the description is as follows: “Big Hand is a giant ape that the military has captured and turned into a mind controlled living weapon. The Children of Big Hand set out on a quest to free their father from enslavement, but Big Hand has been programmed to kill his own children…” The plot line is really neither new nor imaginative, taking its cues from everything from old Superman comic stories (Titano, anyone?) to bad 50’s B movies in which “the Army” was our enemy and the cause of all evils after the birth of the Atomic Age. Add to that the absolutely ludicrous “Bighand loves his wife (who is human – I’ll pause while you picture THAT coupling) and only wants to live with her in peace, but…” premise, and especially her being pregnant and giving birth to 3 malformed children who combine to make Devastat…I MEAN…a creature bigger than Bighand himself, and it begins to wander dangerously close to the realm of the laughable. The art, which was quite jarring when I read it, seems to lack proportion, style, or anything resembling even a passing nod to consistency. Things seem to change and grow at different points, and we’re treated in several scenes to large holes through Bighand’s body, literally showing his spine. In many cases the artwork appeared sloppily drawn and hastily slapped down on the page. In fairness there are only 8 pages, but if it doesn’t change substantially, then believe me, 8 pages is more than enough to give this one a pass. For overall non-family friendliness, generally poor art and an ill conceived storyline, I give it 1 star. Rating:
The Mean Model, if it is possible, is worse in its own way. First of all, the art. If you thought Bighand was jarring, MM is like something out of either an animated Picasso drawing or a nightmare. Perpetually frowning, an ugly pout on her lips and one eye sticking out from under permanently-across-your-face hair may pass for art in some quarters – where I come from it’s called “I can’t draw decent looking people so I’ll pretend I’m avant-garde and use a cubist style.”
Ok, maybe that’s not exactly what it’s called, but you get my point. Can I get back to my review now?
The biggest challenge I have with the comic, however, is in the plotline. I don’t know when the “I am woman, I am a b**ch and I LIKE it, fear me and hear me roar!” mentality decided to become funny, but I wish it never had. It sets the legitimate causes of equality back a few centuries every time that old saw is trotted out once again for the sake of a laugh. The entire plot revolves around finding new and better ways for this self absorbed, narcissistic model to be rude, obnoxious and generally dispraraging of everyone around her because, after all, “it’s all about her.” (#6 and 7 in the series really emphasize these points) Hasn’t the “I’m a diva/better than you/my feet spurn the earth on which I walk” line of thinking died out yet, at least to reasonable people? Is the subject of this comic really the message we want to hand out to people – that this is just one of those wacky things people do and we should all lighten up and laugh about it? If it is, then you’re succeeding admirably, and more’s the pity. I don’t think it takes a person lacking a sense of humor to see that this comic is simple repetition, more of the same, and deals with a subject that deserves laughter – but not the “Hey that was funny!” kind. Instead, it needs laughter of the “Oh you have to be kidding me – get OVER yourself!!” kind. And let’s not forget the obligatory “Clueless, desperate male who will do anything to deign himself worthy of attention from your ugly, self-absorbed backside, rather than laughing at you and walking away” plot line in #8. Oh, yeah - new ground broken there. For being definitely not family friendly in any capacity, for horrid art and a worse subject matter, I give it 1 star – and that’s just because the Moderator wont let me give half stars. Rating:
My apologies to anyone who feels these comics are the epitome of art and humor.
There you have it.
Review by The Doctor