Anak ni Bathala 1: Kalem (morillo,atienza /arroza) [BHM]

(Rotten Tomatoes mode: on)

Anak ni Bathala is slated to be 5 books and a Facebook game. Ultimately this is the product of unbridled creativity and unbridled finances.

Emphasis on ‘unbridled’.

The series states that it will be about, well, the half-man, half-god son of Bathala and his adventures in restoring Mindoro to what should be, meeting allies and enemies in the process.

I will be the first to admit that the presentation of the book is quite pretty and well-executed. Much (highly likely parental, probably day-job-derived) expense went into creating the book. The line detail of the art is distinct, proportional, and action-packed when appropriate. The coloring is quite flat (erm, one-toned) but the fine printing does it justice. The story seems to be quite interesting, too, with a main character you’d like to root for as a nice guy. The villains are also intriguing, some even multi-dimensional. Info-dumping, however, is one major fault of the series introduction.

But this book is thoroughly confused about what it wants to be. It is highly jarring and annoying to be reading text like “Kalem: script mentioned here” followed by “Kalem’s thought: such thought follows”, written on scroll blocks at the bottom of each page. These are things that MUST have been speech balloons and thought balloons placed in the appropriate areas, which is to say, it should have been presented completely in comic form. Otherwise it should have given us paragraphs to read, surrounded by art, as in the Discworld books, and not a script.

This is something that a more experienced publisher should have raised with the creators of this book series. Because no amount of glossy paper with pretty computer-generated graphics will save this confusion from being irritating to an experienced comic reader or book reader. The team is strongly advised to decide if it wants a book or a comic, before book 2 comes out. As the material stands, the first booklet is neither.

All this irritation out of the way, I do recommend the website. It is beautiful and runs well, especially if you have a fast connection.

The series has potential, much potential. But, guys, get input from people who are not friends or family, to fully unleash that potential.

(Rotten Tomatoes mode: off)

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