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I am writing this review as I read through the comic, so forgive the beat-by-beat, "stream of consciousness" format. I like the way you've mixed your art styles, it makes for a very nice effect. Personally I would like to see more panels per page, but the manga-style panel distribution per page doesn't take much away from your story. I would have loved to see more interaction between your teams' characters, it feels like The Captain and The Swashbuckler don't get to speak for themselves. Which is a shame - it's your own characters! You two, of all people, should be able to write those two interacting as fluidly as humanly possible. Unfortunately, I don't think your comic has much to say for itself, it is a rather bland story, and doesn't dare to do much interesting storytelling. To improve, I'd like to see you two focus more on panel importance and distribution, as well as focusing on which parts of the story are most important to finish the art of. The quality of your art unfortunately drops quite hard in the end.
I'm writing this as I read your comic, so dismiss any weird format going on. I like your opening page as a concept, but I think there is too much text in it, and it is too small. It is hard to read. Your comic itself also has A Lot of text in the text bubbles. I really like how different your team characters look, it adds a very fun dynamic to the matchup, especially when your opponents are so similar (= matching) in design. The (first?) action sequence near the middle of the story is super well thought-out, but it really suffers from being unfinished. Perhaps cutting down on context and dialogue, leaving only the most essentialest bits behind, could have helped you finish the art here? The colours on page 8 are great. I would have loved to potentially see more of that, had you cut down on pages. Unfortunately the amount on text on each page is so high some panels get hard to read. I've docked you on writing for that. I wasn't a huge fan of the "panel-by-panel" reveal of the final sequence. I think the same effect could have been obtained by just posting the pages, keeping a consistent page format throughout the whole comic. To improve your next comic, I would like to see you cut down on dialogue, and focus only on the most important parts of the story - backstory and quips are fine, but in moderation. Identifying which parts of the story are most important also helps you focus on where the art needs to be most elaborate, and which parts of the story can be less thoroughly illustrated.
Great work! I think this was a really solid comic- I wasn't sure what to think about this character pair up, but I think they really work well together in an insane way. You hit all the core essential nails on the head (a hard task!), setting the scene, giving your opponents meaningful moments, laying down lore and also Cool Fuckin Sord Attack.
Obviously the art side of things got held back, and luckily the strength of the dialogue carries this forward regardless (wolks writing has always been fantastic, if I'm guessing right). I recognise xeno's work from W4R and they've come on leaps and bounds, their panel composition and action shots were extremely cool-- some really fun poses and challenging camera angles. I think the introduction is where these two elements came together, and it's the strongest part of the comic for me; punchy and to-the-point writing with cool ass art that works in tandem with the action. After that, it kind of felt like a comic of two halves, where the action was separated from the plot, and this is where the comic started to feel somewhat drawn out. I'd like to see work from you guys that can balance the action and storytelling throughout the entire thing, because it's so damn strong when it's working in sync. (also, this beast was so long, no wonder the art got left behind-- layering your action and story could also be useful in keeping page count lower/more manageable, given the time frame)
I actually really liked wolk's much smaller panels at the end-- I'm a big fan of the infinite canvas concept re: page sizes, and wolk's panel-by-panel reveal style. It did seem a bit jarring in relation to the rest of the comic though-- if it's used again in the future, it would be interesting to see it used more consciously as a motif (or perhaps directly in conjunction with xeno's action scenes? cool???) rather than suddenly out of nowhere.
Overall, I'm a big fan with big hopes for you both!!
I really enjoyed this comic! It was tight, controlled and showed onscreen death (!! we love that in a death tourney). While a few elements i feel need a little extra push, I still think you pulled off a very neat and solid piece of work.
I vibed with the way your very different art styles work together-- the clear colour blocking and well-simplified designs were really striking and got the point across very clearly. The consistent use of backgrounds really helped sell the spacial awareness of things, which is something I love. I think there is a lot of room for 3D art to really push things like perspective, backgrounds, props and unnatural elements-- in this comic, it felt a bit like this potential went a bit underutilized. There was a bit of it-- the shot looking down on the little boat from the deck of the ship was great! I'd love to see more conscious use of 3D, especially if both styles can work together-- a character flips a table, and we can see all the crap on it go flying, for instance-- somethign to really sell the fact that the characters are really occupying the space.
I think the writing was exactly what it needed to be, and didn't waste time-- really impressive! Characterising and concise, and paced well with the action. I love the way these guy's powers work-- I'm a sucker for possession style characters haha. I will say that it took a re-read for me to understand exactly what was happening during the posession swordfight-- at first I thought the captain just poofed, or became psychic thought or something. The swashbuckler's colours changing did help enough in the end, but the framing of the 'posession' action could have been clearer, especially since the exact nature of their relationship hasn't been stated outright in text or on their character profiles. That said, Buckler losing an arm because Captain doesn't have a sense of his own missing arm is SUPER cool and clever, i really dig that a lot.
Overall, great work!! I'd love to see you guys keep pushing the envelope going forawrd, I think you make a great team. Real tight match!
Points must unfortunately be taken for the unfinished art. What pages were finished were very eye-catching, in particular the lighting and shading from the flames.
The overall narrative was solid; good ebbs and flows in the action and all four characters got a chance to shine. I will say, though, it felt like it dragged near the end. The conversation between Gin and The Captain was something of a slog to get through, especially when the unfinished art made parsing the action an effort in its own right, and yet The Swashbuckler's death felt sudden because that conversation took the focus away from her fight for several pages. Chopping a few pages and streamlining the final battle would go a long way.
Still, a solid framing device and good characterization make it a solid entry.
As with the other piece, points off for unfinished art. The solid colors worked for the characters, but the clash with the pre-rendered environment threw me off.
The narrative was functional, but a bit too shallow for its own good. Gin in particular felt like an afterthought in the second half and it took me a couple of reads to parse what exactly happened during the final exchange of blows.
While the action was decent, this comic largely felt like unfulfilled potential. I left wanting more polish and more meat to the characterization; a fight with two extremely flamboyant opponents needs more zazz than this.
Sick intro page right off the bat, although the text is a tiny slight bit too small, I could still read it thanks to the zoom level on the site.
STICK YOUR PINKY OUT nice dialogue. Enjoying the parallels between mentor-mentee relationships.
I POGGED AND WENT OH FUCK MULTIPLE TIMES OVER THE COURSE OF THESE PAGES. GREAT WRITING. Especially the banter between Soph and Gin, and Soph and the Swashbuckler. I loved the three different relationships in play. BANGER WAY TO KILL BOTH OPPONENTS and the epilogue where they meet in the afterlife, woof.
Might have overextended a bit on that page count, but from what was finished and the rest that was posted there were some nice action scenes (LOVED the big sea creature thing).
I like how the Captain is rendered kinda blurry in contrast with the living characters.
I'm always a sucker for nice smear frames, like the topmost panel on page 15, efficient way to imply an action sequence without having to draw out all those poses. Incorporating this technique into my brain.
Ohhh Swashbuckler changed colours because the ghost is helping her.
LMAO TWINSIES (SURGICAL).
Overall I think Gin was under-utilised, maybe lacking in a confrontation with more depth? He gave up pretty easily at the end there. And the dialogue was a bit flat. The minimal rendering for the art gave it clarity and made the ghost Captain stand out.
If there is one thing i can say for a strength of the comic as a whole, the grey tones in some of the pages do help a lot with clarity and ease of readability, and the colored pages were some of xeno's best! If i can, i would suggest prioritizing the greys as much as you can in your work flow across all pages and then picking out a select few pages to go out on color! With the way Xeno lays out pages these layouts are beggin for some good tones and greys to make the action pop! Other than that the very bottom panel with the text had some over crowding on page 13 that was very noticeable
Its a shame it seemed to have been a tad unfinished at the end, but despite that I think one of the only things hindering this comic, aside from that is the fairly empty shot compositions in each panel. Perhaps it was a time issue, perhaps it was just hard to come up with some ideas for shots, but i feel as if some of these panels could only be enhanced by some quick line work in the background detailing either the ship, some clouds, or birds in the distance
sorry if it seems as if im harping on this a bit, if only because otherwise the only problem id really have with the comic is that it could have had more moments with Pennington and The Captain and getting more time with them as well! Sophi and The Swashbuckler getting the spotlight was great but when there is one pair getting the spotlight, the other's presence does tend to suffer a bit! other than that not a bad round by any means, love the really clear layouts for the page compositions as a whole!
The exposition at the beginning is a really strong efficient choice, but I have to admit: I completely skimmed it and didn't absorb any of that information. Too much text is kind of a recurring problem, but the comic has a lot of style and has such effective compositions, color choices and action that it totally makes up for that. The depiction of smoke is especially a surprisingly strong storytelling device here, it has such a life and menace to it. This comic mixes a deadly menace and dramatic death with absolutely ridiculous cartoon characters extremely well: rather than overwhelming each other, they compliment each other so well. The strong staging shows itself extremely well where one of the unfinished pages, by virtue of its composition and drama, is still one of the most gripping (that's page 8, by the way. I just love it, it does so many things right.) Such strong characterization really shines through whenever this comic has room to breathe. Beautiful comic.
At first I was completely unsure on why the Captain had a different coloring scheme than the rest of the cast, but page 10 converted me, it's a perfect conveyance. The monotone characters in complex backgrounds is great at keeping the action clean and easy to read, a great boon for the amount of action and small changes in location. The uncolored final pages are a shame but they keep enough of the energy and personality to still be an enjoyable read. For the sword fight, while the action is easy to read, it feels like it could stand to use some reference for the sword's weight and the user's posture. But that's a minor complaint for a greatly fun comic: especially the introduction, showing off these weirdos at maximum capacity. I love it.
The writing is really strong in this one and really feels like there are three distinct acts, which is an impressive feat for a comic made in two weeks. Each of the characters has a distinct voice and use of language, which I feel is a very important but sometimes over-looked aspect of comics and a sign of a skilled writer. The art has a lot of big set-pieces and I could always follow what the action was. Giving the characters a history was a nice way to weave them together and avoids the comic being just a straight fight scene. I also like incorporating the Double Black Diamond into the story as an actual treasure.
The action in this comic is all legible and easy to follow, although it seems that you started to run out of time, as the quality does dip a bit in the latter pages. Still, you submitted a completed comic which is preferential to a more polished but unfinished product. The Captain possessing The Swashbuckler is some nice plot, that's really using teamwork for both your characters. I'm a sucker for permanent battle damage, so it was neat to see The Swashbuckler come away from the fight with one limb less. I think you nailed the tone of your opponents, both felt very true to their character, even in their respective action hero landing poses!
The use of lighting and coloring on the more polished pages is really good and really gets the fire-y mood across. Your shots are framed really well, and you pick interesting ways to show off the action. The fight scenes are good and I like how you use the ship as an arena. The comic felt like you were being very ambitious overall.
I felt like there was an uneven amount of polish with some pages being sketchy and some looking super clean and colored- It might be a good idea to spend your time budget on cleaning up the sketchy pages for clarity before coloring. If you only have time for a few colored pages, try to color the most important story beats for maximum impact. There's also some pages that are really heavy on the dialogue- I think it can be tempting to put a lot of word balloons together when you need to get information across, but it can really slow down the pacing.
Great job giving every character a cool moment and a lot of characterization! I especially like Gin and the Captain's pre-existing relationship. The contrast between Sophi and Gin is also really fun. And the super toxic father daughter relationship!
I love how clean and clear the art is here. Really great clarity of action, very easy to understand what's happening at all times. Lots of the character's personality comes through in the body language and facial expressions. The use of color to show the possession happening works really well.
The more rendered art looks kind of odd next to the more simple art. A little more use of backgrounds would help the fight scenes pop more. The story is a bit flat, I'd like to see a more fleshed out reason for them to fight. Some of the dialogue feels kind of awkward: It might help to run it by an editor or read it out loud to see if it scans correctly.
It's cool that you're not afraid to let your characters get hurt and change over time! I also liked what a gremlin your Sophi was.
first round and teamwork effort! It's so great to see your combined efforts manifest in this comic. Also talk about setting the mood from page one. Considering the piratey aesthetic I think you're going for, I would've loved to have seen some salt blighted and weathered paper and more seafaring paphernilia on the desk. your colors when you showcase them on the page is a nice pop. I could tell on page 2 we were dealing with a firelit scene. I especially dug all the floating embers in the air and the oomph it gave to your action scenes where we see those really neat power ups and weapon attacks. I do notice that your page real estate was at a premium. You packed so much dialogue page to page that it felt like your graphics were competing for space. Its seems kind of wild to suggest adding more pages to give your dialogue some breathing room considering the sheer number of pages you already have, so the only alternative I can think of is editing not only your output but your dialogue. What is crucially needed to get across what you need without being an overwhelming wall of text.
I doff my hat to not only going so very hard first round, but despite not getting it all done clearly giving as much of a 100% as you could.
By way of colors, this seems like the smart play. Spot colors to give us a visual representation of who's who. I am puzzled by the distinct color change and detail once we get to page 3. The Captain coloring method stands out in a manner that feels incongruous. It leaves me wondering if y'all utilized a unique method of working on your respective characters in your own ways on the same page, which I haven't heard of before (and is honestly kind of neat!). I think if you're trying to get "This is a ghost" vibes across, there likely could be simpler and more blatant methods to do so that I'd encourage you to experiment with.
Still, all in all an impressive page count and showing with the time you were given cuz my gosh why did everyone go hard for this first round? XD I'd encourage you to really get into the nuts and bolts of ship anatomy (literally) to give some personality and character to your environments. A ship is a really fun backdrop to have your confrontation in, but I don't feel like it was capitalized on to the fullest here.
I really appreciate the ambition you both displayed with this comic. This was a pretty large piece of pie to pull out of the gate. Despite it being unfinished, the comic came through nicely and I think you both have a weird and interesting little duo that I'd like to learn more about it.
However, there is some general issues with how you're presenting your story in this comic. Your speech bubbles are decently obtuse - Page 13 and 14 is particularly egregious in speech bubble layout. It's far too busy for all the information trying to get across. I don't like colored speech bubbles either usually, but in this case I don't think the information would come across otherwise, so small necessities. On the whole, ease up on how many speech bubbles you intend to shove in a particular panel or page.
Still, despite that issue, your story was interesting and the action you did in the comic was really neat. I'll be curious to see what you plan to do next. Good work.
This was a neat little comic. Despite it being unfinished, I thought the story was pretty neat and I liked the little sword-fight sequence you did here. Your character concepts together are really neat and I think they make for a cool duo. The 3D being used for the background as a reference to paint over is a smart idea (I presume that's what is happening there?) While this wasn't finished, I would like to see you guys finish it at some point, because you had some interesting ideas on display here. Overall, nice comic. You guys did a solid job.
I'll start off with saying that the character voices in this are very distinct- you've got a lot to say and we learn a ton about them in the process, which is great!
However. the page to dialogue ratio was a bit out of whack- i found it hard to keep track of what was going on while reading all the dialogue, and good though it was i think it'd be wise if you make it to the next round to go in with an editing pen and trim some of it for clarity. Even just keeping it to one charater- Gin monologuing in his very formal way would be funny and very in character, so long as it doesn't distract from the action. Keeping the page count down would also help for running out of time for drawing.
That being said- i love how much you managed to show off each character, and a special mention to the format of the last few pages revealing panels as you click through. That was really effective and i loved it- thats the sort of quiet pacing i'd love to see in the rest of the comic!
The colour coding was a really sensible choice here for the minimalist art! Very easy to keep track of where everyone was, and the comic has a good sense of space/feel for where everyone was physically which i was impressed by. The expressions are also really solid- panel 3 page 18 (really all of page 18, actually) impressed me for that despite running out of time for the colours.
I really love how seriously both teams took Mr Pennington, god. 10/10 height of humour actually. I do wish you'd committed to killing him, though- i love him but i want to see violence! It hurts even better when you kill the favourite.
OOOOH! The Lighting, the colors, the lines the story!!! Really its all delightful, loved what you two brought to ball with! I am oogling the hell out of those splash pages! Lovely dialogue as well, it has a pretty firm grasp on the characters and it flows pretty damn well! I do feel the need to point out though that, while I do love the splash pages and the colors and lighting and so on, I feel like, your inks were also very capable on their own, and it may have been better to focus on using those inks to ensure every page was finished and clean, rather than having a few shine out?
Love the hint of history between the Captain and Gin, and playing with the wider setting of oculama as a whole! The ending bit where Gin goes to the afterlife, not thinking at all about what it would mean is just hilarious! The way you slowed the pacing of it by breaking up the pages by panel was also super clever, I'll have to jot that idea down, cause it worked wonders for your timing!
Oho! The Bgs are popping! And you've got characters on primary colors for reading clarity! And then the additional oomph of Captain being fully rendered, fittingly as he's the sole non-living participant! I do think like, immediate first impression that this comic suffers from being too close? I think if the panels were a few steps back to give the characters more breathing room, that would help a ton for setting the scenes and making the actions clearer! I do love how the duel ends up going, I think its very neat to convey the like, differences in character holds your duo back, by having it literally cost them in a fight, since Captain doesn't realize they are not like the Swashbuckler! Love it when the figurative issues get reflected in the literal!
I do think this comic also suffers from a similar boat of focusing too much on getting everything colored and set when it would probably have been better had it been all inked and instead. and maybe some greys?
As well, Gin's role feels near non-existent, like if you took him out the comic, nothing at all changes about it really, and the ending remains the same. Still, I did love this comic, and I think you did a great job with it! I'm still boggling at these backgrounds, and the solid action you pulled out in your comic!