Monday, August 31, 2009

Zuda review Cards Kill/ Strong art, weak story structure

Cards Kill was a August Zuda contestant done by Jason Chiu & Leah Liu. here is the synopsis: Kain Havoc is an ordinary clerk in a big company. He is so ordinary that people even forget his existence. He hates his job and feels inferior. He wants to change, but he doesn’t know how. One day, while playing cards, weird things start to happen. A card changes his life, and he receives special powers. Stronger and speedier now, sometimes he can’t control his consciousness. Kain doesn’t full understand what happened. Later on, he gets involved in a series of events, and finds out that he is not alone. He meets new friends, who have special powers just like him. During their adventures, Kain Havoc learns how to control his power and how to be a hero.

The colors and the art are what stand out to me

I admit Manga style isn't a area of comics that familiar to me, but I'm always game for a decent story. Cards Kill starts off in its opening screen featuring some type of demon creatures. The art and colors are the strong suit of this comic, which you really start to notice on screen 2. The joker look-a-like sends down magical cards to humanity that gives them powers this premise is nicely summed up by the second screen. The story isn't good, or bad just average with a let down for a cliff hanger ending. The letters are only fair pretty hard to read in small screen even post beta. Kain the lead hero gets a nice quite introduction, but from the pace of the story you'd think the creators were unaware they only had 8 screens. This could have been adapted for the format, but things need to get moving faster than this. Really well colored pretty art was only enough to get this comic a 10th place finish. Very nice colors and art on screens 4 and 5 made a Poker game beautiful to look at even if it did take up too much space. I also enjoyed the screen layouts through most of the 8 screens. The problem is with a name like Kain Havoc no way could he ever be a ordinary man. The other problem is it takes too long to get to the big reveal. The was a nice establishing shot to start off screen 6 and help establish time had passed. I also have to give the writer credit for not getting too wordy and letting the art speak for itself.

Screen 7 and 8 should have been screen 3 and 4

Which reinforces the point of their being too much fluff at the start of the story. The light weight 'oh I have powers now' wasn't much of a cliff hanger to end on considering other Zuda contestants. Screen 7 was some impressive panel layouts, very well done reveal of Havoc getting his powers. So why in the hell couldn't we have gotten to this sooner? All that pretty, but screen consuming build-up the creators thought readers needed -wrong it was needless. It also left the only option to end on being Havoc just getting his powers. "better than ever" is Havoc comment as he turns over the card table with a red light glow in his eyes and a Sunspot like complexion. The for the last panel we get yet another establishing shot -with crows. The fact that more crows were showing up (prelude to a Birds style situation) wasn't really that spooky, or interesting here. Forget setting the mood and go with a impact shot of this story's lead. Something more impressive than a table flipping would be called for. The art/colors were amazing, letters blah, writing was decent, but the pace of the story didn't fit the Zuda 8 screens format.

Zuda review Rogue Royal/ Aliens with eye stalks keeping it eye level

Rogue Royal was a August Zuda contestant done by Chris Garrett. It got a favorite from me and here is the synopsis: What is Ember Zeram, beloved Space Princess of the Palmyrene Galaxy, doing associating with criminals and buying arms from the black market? Why can’t she make her mother, Space Queen Zenobia, happy and marry a nice space prince? Could it be she has taken on some secret mission that threatens to unravel the calm of the entire Intergalactic Empire? Who could she enlist in such a quest? Who will stand in her way? And why don’t they make space suits like they used to? Rogue Royal is a comedic sci-fi action comic with mild sexiness and frequent graphic alien dismemberment.

Mild sexiness meaning cute cartoon princess in a tattered and torn outfit

I'm not a big humor fan (not my go-to genre), but this story is funny. It's a done-in-one self contained tale that manages to be smart, zanny, and set-up then execute the punch line of the story. The colors match the light-hearted story and the letters are easy to read. The art is cartoony, but fun showing some nice alien designs. On screen one we see Ember talking to a alien with one eye on a stalk he can't keep off her cleavage. She puts a unwelcomed kink in his stalk along with a well written humorous little rant. Cute but not sickeningly so accurately describes the design of every single character in this story. A fine job on the part of the creator, with dialogue that matches the quality of the art. I really appreciate that this a story with a beginning, middle, and a end, especially that the alien menace arrives by screen two -no wasted screens. Screen 3 is one of the best screens in the comic with various cute little aliens getting ripped to shreds. Even more smart dialogue from the arms seller "10 percent off anything you see! Provided you use it to defend my station. no discount on Ammo." It comes off as a cross between a black market arms dealer, and a used car salesman. During the haggling you find out Ember's mother the Queen had used her influence to try to limit her daughters choice in arms. Their is also a nice recurring sight gag of bloody body parts flying around all over the place. The action scenes flow well with dynamic rendering in the art. The various sound effects for laser guns and laser blades was a high-light in this comic.

They shot their babies at her??? LOL

In a absurdest bit of humor the 'evil' Hideon mother critter shot flying pods of its 'babies' at Ember. Who proceeded to take them out in a well drawn action sequence. As the babies efforts failed a mother's love was lessened. it went from "Get her my precious little ones" to "oh you worthless wretches" with the papa Hideon saying "Hey did you shoot our babies at her?" Readers get another good action sequence as Ember blasts away at the Hideons. The coloring/lettering worked together, and helped make the fight scenes even more impressive. Ember saves the day by stuffing a grenade done a baby Hideon's throat and kicking it out a space lock. The other Hideons chase after with comments of "mmm! roast baby!" and "Outta my way!" It's so out there it's funny, and dead baby alien jokes are far more acceptable than any other kind. It ends with Ember's suit basically destroyed and a butt shot from Ember. "Now which one of you sold me this @#?!! spacesuit?" One more great laugh before the comic comes to an end. It was a well crafted story that fit the 8 screens allowed on Zuda. It had a respectable finish in the contest at 4th, and I'd like to see more work from this creator.